Thousands of Pakistani protesters have held rallies in the city of Peshawar to challenge their government’s decision to reopen the NATO supply routes into Afghanistan, Press TV reports. Chanting slogans against the Pakistani government on Friday, the angry protesters denounced the resumption of shipping supplies by the US and its allies to their troops in Afghanistan through the Pakistani soil.
The rally, organized by the country’s largest Islamic party, Jamaat-e-Islami, aimed to press the government to close the supply lines permanently.“Our youth wing has organized this protest rally against reopening of the supply routes for the US-led forces in Afghanistan. They demand that our government stop cooperating with the US and their so-called war on terror,” rally organizer, Waqar Ahmad told our correspondent. Meanwhile, Syed Munawar Hassan, the head of the party, urged the Pakistani people to block the supply routes by force, saying the US-led forces are enemies of Pakistan who use these supplies and weapons against the Pakistani people. Islamabad opened the routes in July after the US apologized for its airstrikes on two Pakistani checkpoints on the Afghan border that killed 24 Pakistani soldiers last November. In return, the US vowed to release over USD 1 billion in aid to help Islamabad in the so-called war on terror. Leaders of the party said that by reopening the supply routes, the government has bypassed a parliamentary resolution, which demanded in April that the US stop its assassination drone attacks in northwestern Pakistan, apparently as a precondition to the resumption of NATO supplies into the neighboring country through Pakistan. However, the US has continued the strikes by the pilotless aircraft especially in northwestern Pakistan. AO/MA/AZ