ISLAMABAD, Nov 23 – Thousands of political activists in Pakistan Saturday blocked the main supply route for NATO troops in Afghanistan to protest against US drone attacks in the country.
The protestors staged a sit-in on the main supply route in Peshawar, the capital of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province, Xinhua reported.
Pakistan Tehrik-e-Insaf (PTI), which rules the province, started closure of the supply line as part of its anti-drones protest strategy.
Activists of the Jamaat-e-Islami party, a coalition partner in the provincial government, also joined the protest on Peshawar’s Ring Road that is used by hundreds of NATO containers to enter Afghanistan daily.
Cricketer-turned-politician, Imran Khan, who leads the PTI, attended the protest. Earlier, Khan said the protest will continue unless the US stops drone strikes.
Protest rallies outside the US embassy and UN mission in Islamabad have also been planned in the coming days, said Shah Farman, spokesman for the provincial government.
Earlier, the authorities closed the main border point of Torkham with Afghanistan ahead of the protest over security concerns, officials said. It is one of the two main border points used for NATO supplies.
Officials said nearly 70 percent of supplies for thousands of foreign troops are transported through Pakistan.
The police in Peshawar Saturday blocked “Ring Road”, the route NATO containers use to head to Afghanistan.
Officials said hundreds of police personnel were deployed in the city to tighten security in Peshawar and surrounding areas. Experts from the Bomb Disposal Squad also visited the venue of the sit-in and searched the area.
Speaking at a rally, former foreign minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi said the world is silent on the killing of over 40,000 people in Pakistan in terrorist attacks due to joining the US war.
Jamaat-e-Islami leader Liaquat Baloch, speaking on the occasion, asked the government to shoot down the American drones. He said that Jamaat will also block NATO trucks in Karachi Sunday.
The protest was planned after the Nov 1 drone strike in North Waziristan which killed the Pakistani Taliban chief Hakimullah Mehsud just a day ahead of a meeting between a government-led team and the Taliban.
Pakistan accused the US of sabotaging the peace process with the Taliban.
The US expanded its drone campaign and rained missiles on a religious school in Hangu district Nov 21 and killed six students and teachers. IANS