Accidents involving oil tankers are increasing by the day. One of the major reasons is the growing lack of concern for the safety of not just the truck drivers but also the public. It is very convenient to not follow proper security checks, as it costs a lot of money, and that is why oil eschew safe practices to make a bigger profit.

On Monday alone, two accidents involving oil tankers took place; one in Karachi and one near Islamabad. A fire broke out in Karachi Port Trust’s Oil Terminal due to a possible gas leak, which caused the explosion. The tank involved belonged to a private firm known as Al-Raheen. The incident left one dead and three severely injured. This is the same area which was engulfed by fire in November 2016 as well. However due to lack of any improvement in action, it took around three hours for the authorities to control the situation.

The incident that took place near Islamabad was due to the over speeding of a tanker going Karachi to Peshawar. It was filled with some chemicals and rammed right into shops nearby. Two people were burnt to death and two were injured.

These are not isolated incidents or events that can be written off among the countless automobile accidents that happen every day. Surveys have found that almost 90% of oil tankers operating in Pakistan do not abide by all safety regulations – which are the cause of the problem. Furthermore, unlike regular automobile accidents, an oil tanker accident has the potential to harm bystanders and even property in the vicinity. This has to change.

Despite the pressure to abide by safety regulations; the All Pakistan Oil Tankers Association (APOTA) refuses to make any amends. Instead all they have done since the terrible incident in Bahawalpur is protest against the demand of meeting safety standards. They have protested for weeks overlooking the death of 200 people, and the fact that it resulted from their irresponsibility.

At the same time, the government also prefers indulging in the blame game. While the Oil and Gas Regulatory Authority (OGRA) has taken the right step by demanding action in this case, it has shifted blame to other third party groups and organisations working under it. The government must own up to its responsibility and stop bowing down to the pressure tactics of the oil APOTA.