Alexa
  • Directory of Taiwan

Charred vehicles, rocks litter highway in Bhutto's homeland

Charred vehicles, rocks litter highway in Bhutto's homeland

Three days after Benazir Bhutto's killing, driving through her home province is a perilous experience. Charred vehicles, felled trees and rocks litter the highway, and nervous travelers paste her portrait to their cars to appease prowling mobs.
"Long live Bhutto!" one motorist shouted to a gang armed with stones and pieces of wood manning a roadblock.
After a brief discussion, he was allowed to continue on his way.
Bhutto's killing in a gun and suicide bomb attack on Thursday plunged Pakistan deeper into political crisis and triggered an orgy of violence that has killed more than 40 people and left hundreds of banks, shops, gasoline stations, railway stations and offices torched.
Sindh, an agricultural region in the south of the country where Bhutto grew up, has seen the worst of the unrest.
An Associated Press reporter who took the 450 kilometer (279 miles) highway that connects Larkana, Bhutto's home town, and Karachi, Pakistan's largest city, on Saturday saw just a dozen cars and one truck traveling on it. Scores of smoldering vehicles lay beside the road.
In one attack close to Larkana on Saturday, unidentified assailants opened fire on a motorcade of Bhutto's supporters as they headed back to Karachi after her funeral, killing one man and wounding two others, said Waqar Mehdi, a spokesman for Bhutto's party.
Along the normally bustling highway, hundreds of truck drivers with loads of coal, rice and sand were stranded at small motels or by the roadside, too scared to continue their journey. Long lines formed at the few gasoline stations brave enough to open.
"We have all been uselessly stuck here for three days and want to reach our destinations and then go home, but who knows when normalcy will return?", said 30-year-old Farid Ahmed, a stranded driver.
Some people pasted photos of Bhutto on their vehicles, either because they were supporters of the former prime minister or because they felt doing so offered them some protection against the mobs, which were burning bits of wood and pulling cars over.
In towns and cities in Sindh, many people complained about food shortages.
"I am looking for fresh milk for my two-year kid for the past day have not been able to get any," said Hanif Khan, from Saddar city.
Sindh's provincial home minister Akhtar Zamin said he had ordered police to guard gasoline stations so as to allow trucks to begin distributing food again.
"Hopefully things will be normalized at the earliest," he said. "Everybody is shocked (because of Bhutto's assassination). The miscreants have created such havoc that people are scared to bring their trucks and lorries on the road."


Updated : 2021-05-09 22:43 GMT+08:00