Thousands of protestors block NATO supplies
ISLAMABAD (PAN): Led by cricketer-turned politician Imran Khan, thousands of people on Saturday closed the main road in Peshawar, the capital of Pakistan’s northwestern Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province, used by NATO supply trucks.
Khan’s Pakistan Tehrik-i-Insaf (PTI) party and its coalition partners in the provincial government sponsored the protest, supported by the rightwing Jamaat-i-Islami (JI) and Awami Jamhoori Ittehad (AJIP).
Around 10,000 activists of the political parties converged on the Ring Road in Peshawar from different parts of the country, according to organisers. The demonstrators called for a halt to drone strikes, chanting “Down with America”.
On Thursday, a US drone strike outside the tribal region killed six people, including senior commanders of the Haqqani network, at a religious school in Hangu district.
Before leaving for Peshawar, Khan told journalists in Islamabad the federal government, led by Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, had done nothing to stop drone attacks. He promised the protest against the strikes would continue indefinitely.
NATO supplies would not be allowed to pass through the province, he vowed, saying the PTI government in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa had the mandate to block International Security Assistance Force supplies.
“We are being killed by dengue, hepatitis, tuberculosis, electricity, gas, inflation as well as drones,” stated Awami Muslim League (AML) chief and parliamentarian, Sheikh Rasheed Ahmad.
PTI Vice-Chairman Shah Mehmood Qureshi said when Khan was talking about drones, no one listened to him. “Now even the UN secretary general says that they [drone strikes] are in violation of international law. They call it war crimes.”
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