Malaysian Sikh bikers ride to Pakistan for cancer awareness

Chosen by the National Cancer Society Malaysia, 17 Sikh members of the Santana Riderz Malaysia Club will set out to cover 16,000 kilometers to raise funds for pediatric cancer. The ride coincides with the birth anniversary of the founder of Sikhism and concludes in the city of his birth, Nankana Sahib, Pakistan. Picture taken on April 26, 2018 (Photo Courtesy: Santana Riderz Malaysia Club Instagram)
Updated 21 September 2019

Malaysian Sikh bikers ride to Pakistan for cancer awareness

  • The ride coincides with the 550th birth anniversary of the founder of Sikhism and ends in his birthplace, Nankana Sahib, in Pakistan
  • Santana Riderz want to raise awareness about pediatric cancer, generate funds to combat the disease

ISLAMABAD: A Malaysian motorcycle club, Santana Riderz, has decided to raise awareness and funds for pediatric cancer by planning a biking expedition to Pakistan in which its members will ride through a number of countries, said the association’s top official on Friday.
The 17 riders belong to the Sikh community and hope to conclude their journey in Pakistan’s eastern town of Nankana Sahib, the birthplace of the founder of their religion, Guru Nanak, whose 550th birth anniversary will be celebrated in November this year.
Pakistan’s Punjab province holds tremendous historic significance for Sikhism. Not only does it have the community’s holiest religious shrine but was also part of its empire in the early half of the 19th century and was governed by one of its most illustrious rulers, Maharaja Ranjit Singh.
The Sikh riders have embarked on their venture in collaboration with the National Cancer Society of Malaysia (NSCM) and will cruise the roads of Thailand, Myanmar and India before finishing their trip in Pakistan.
According to details, six of them will kick off the run from Malaysia while others will ride into formation as the journey continues. The group will cover 16,000 kilometers in almost 40 days, and each rider will spend about Rs350,000 to meet their fuel, food and accommodation expenses.
46-year-old Jaspal Singh, who serves as president of the motorcycle club, maintains it is the largest bike ride of its kind since it aims to raise funds for children fighting cancer.
“Santana Riderz Malaysia Club is an organization that reaches out to help anyone in their means,” he told Arab News. “We are united by a common goal: To save and improve lives, especially young ones.”
“In Malaysia, the NCSM has always kept its door open to people who want to do voluntary work,” he added. “Children shouldn’t feel sick or lose their hair. They shouldn’t have to face long term effects like hearing loss or the ability to ever walk. These are some of the driving factors that compelled us to connect with the NCSM.”
Under the theme “Sarbat Da Bhala” – or “blessings for everyone” – funds raised through the ride will go to children and their families, regardless of race or creed. According to Singh, this was also one reason why the NCSM chose the club’s charitable ride.
Established in 1979, Santana Riderz has 46 members. The non-profit has been an active philanthropic force in Malaysia since it has previously organized a number of initiatives to help communities across that country by raising money on wheels.
On coming to Pakistan, Singh said a few of his group members had traveled to the country before, but “a journey to a place of such significance” was always worth repeating.
“Just like anyone who has faith in God, going to a place of sanctuary is most satisfying to the soul and mind. This sanctuary is a sacred place for us, set apart from the profane, ordinary world,” he added. “This kind of phenomenon is beyond emotional and indescribable. We have gratitude and feel most connected to God.”

Pakistani transporters protest new regulation, fines

Updated 09 January 2020

Pakistani transporters protest new regulation, fines

  • Government officials say they are hopeful that the issue will soon be resolved
  • Pakistan spends about Rs50 billion for the upkeep of highways

KARACHI: A countrywide strike of transporters against a new regulation and imposition of heavy fines entered its third consecutive day on Wednesday, though government officials said they were hopeful of resolving the issue soon.

Pakistan’s communications ministry recently enforced a new axle load control regime to address the problem of overloading that can cause accidents or damage highways. However, goods transporters have been demanding the restoration of axle load law as per the National Highway Safety (NHS) Ordinance 2000.

Transporters say they have taken 400,000 vehicles off the road to protest the new regulation.

“Our drivers are fined up to Rs10,000 in the name of online verification of their licenses which are issued by government authorities. Besides, they are also fined for overloading vehicles despite the fact that the law dealing with the issue has not even been promulgated,” Imdad Hussain Naqvi of the All Pakistan Goods and Transporters Association told Arab News.

Due to the three-day strike, the transportation of imported and exported goods remains suspended at Karachi’s ports.

“The situation is very difficult as our ports are gradually chocking with inbound and outbound goods,” Tariq Haleem, Convener of the Federation of Pakistan Chambers of Commerce and Industry’s Standing Committee on Maritime Affairs, told Arab News.

Estimates suggest that transporters move Rs40 billion worth of goods across the country on a daily basis.

“The daily transportation schedule includes Rs20 billion worth of imports and Rs10 billion in exports. The interprovincial movement also stands at Rs10 billion per day,” Naqvi claimed.

He said the per day loss to transporters was around Rs10,000 per vehicle for upcountry movement while they incurred Rs5,000 for intercity movement.

When contacted by Arab News, Mehmood Moulvi, an adviser to the maritime ministry, said that the government was looking into the problem and it “will hopefully be resolved by Wednesday evening.”

The stakeholders say the government must come up with an amicable settlement of the issue that meets international standards and the treaties signed with neighboring countries.

“Pakistan suffers by nearly Rs50 billion on account of maintenance of highways every year due to overloading. The implementation of the axle load regime will be an important step toward the implementation of regional connectivity,” Aasim Siddiqui, Chairman of the All Pakistan Shipping Association (APSA), told Arab News.

“The regime is changing and under the agreements of regional connectivity Pakistani trucks cannot cross the borders because they are unsafe. We have to upgrade our fleet under the national freight and transportation policy which also demands proper licensing. Otherwise, only the Chinese will benefit from the changing regime,” Siddiqui added.