Shipping firms in Pakistan have accused authorities in the Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa provinces of forcibly seizing their containers for using them to block the entry of demonstrators to capital Islamabad ahead of the 'Azadi March'.
"Over the last three days, police have forcibly taken possession of more than 3,000 containers in different parts of the country," Hakimullah Khan, president of the Containers Association in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa told Anadolu Agency.
Opposition parties in Pakistan have announced a five-day anti-government protest named 'Azadi March' from October 27. The protests will begin from various parts of the country and converge in Islamabad on October 31.
Hakimullah Khan has claimed that the owners of the seized containers have faced huge financial loses as a result of the authorities' actions.
On the other hand, Islamabad's deputy commissioner Hamza Shafqaat has said that the containers have not been seized but hired from their owners for which they shall be duly paid.
"We have not taken a single container by force," said Hamza Shafqaat, Islamabad's deputy commissioner. "We have hired all containers from the owners and we will pay for them," he added.
The Azadi March has been announced by Jamiat Ulema-Islam-Fazl (JUI-F) chief Fazlur Rehman in a bid to topple the government, which Rehman believes came to power through "fake elections". The Pakistan government has decided to let the march proceed as long as parameters laid out by courts for lawful protest are not breached.
(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)