Thousands protest Pakistan’s reopening of NATO supply route

July 17th, 2012 - 9:34 pm ICT by IANS  

Islamabad, July 17 (IANS) Thousands of people in northwest Pakistan Tuesday staged a sit-in on the main supply route for NATO forces in Afghanistan. They were opposing Islamabad’s decision to reopen the supply line, closed last November over the killing of 24 Pakistani soldiers in a drone strike.

The supply route was reopened July 3 after US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said she offered her “deepest regrets” to Pakistan’s Foreign Minister Hina Rabbani Khar for the “tragic incidents” in which Pakistani security personnel were killed.

The reopening evoked strong criticism from main religious and several opposition political parties. They are organising marches and rallies in major cities against the reopening of the NATO supply routes, Xinhua reported.

On Tuesday, Jamaat-e-Islami party organised the sit-in on the main route in Khyber tribal region near the Torkham border point. Hundreds of trucks with supplies for NATO forces cross Afghanistan via Torkham every day.

Jamaat-e-Islami chief Munawar Hasan criticised the government’s decision to allow NATO trucks through Pakistani territory, appealing to the people to force the government to withdraw its decision as it would drag Pakistan into war in Afghanistan.

Disputing the government’s claim that the supply line was reopened to facilitate withdrawal of foreign forces, Hasan said it was done under US pressure while ignoring parliamentary guidelines about the future relationship with Washington.

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