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JI holds protest march against NATO supply

18 July, 2012

LANDIKOTAL: Jamaat-e-Islami (JI) on Tuesday held a protest march and sit-in at Bab-e-Khyber, Jamrud, against restoration of NATO supplies into Afghanistan.

Leaders of JI, which has no seats in parliament, had said 50,000 people would take part in the demonstration, but far fewer made it to Jamrud, close to Torkham border crossing with Afghanistan.

Local administration official Bakhtiar Khan put the figure at between 18,000 and 20,000, although an AFP photographer estimated the numbers to be closer to 8,000 to 10,000.

"We want an end to US slavery, an end to US interference, a ban on NATO supplies through Pakistan and an end to US drone attacks on Pakistan," JI leader Munawar Hassan said, addressing the crowd. "The war against terror has killed 40,000 people and destroyed peace in the country," he added.

The participants of the protest march shouted anti-US slogans and criticised the government over drone strikes and restoration of NATO supplies. "Drone strikes are no more tolerable," the JI chief said while speaking on the occasion.

He said that NATO supply could not be allowed to continue through Pakistan as it was against the interests of the country and sovereignty of the state, adding that the decision to restore the supply also violated a unanimous resolution passed by a joint sitting of parliament. US designs were against Pakistan and its nuclear assets, and that was why the US interventions needed to be stopped in the country, he said.

Munawar also criticised Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) chief Nawaz Sharif and Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) chief Imran Khan for their "weak stand" against the government's decision to re-open NATO supply, and asked them to come on the roads and protest along with the JI, rather than "throw dust into the eyes of the masses".

Pakistan was not safe under the leadership of Zardari and his regime, Munawar remarked, adding that it was imperative to throw out "the corrupt rulers" and hold fair elections to take the country out of crises. He also urged the people to stand with the JI in the next elections to choose honest, fair and dedicated leadership so that their basic problems could be solved.

He also came down hard on the army chief, reminding him his pledges made with the nation during the Swat operation that the army would uproot terrorism from the country. Terrorism had grown more, he said, arguing that army should be withdrawn if there was peace in Swat.

He asked the military leadership to end operations in FATA and let the tribesmen go to their homes in a dignified way. Health and education centres should be reconstructed in FATA to make the future of the tribal people safe, he demanded, and urged the government to compensate the tribesmen for their losses during the ongoing military operations in their areas. Protest rallies would continue throughout the country against restoration of NATO supply and drone strikes, the JI chief concluded.

JI Vice President Sirajul Haq, JI provincial chief Professor Ibrahim and others also spoke on the occasion. They said NATO supply was against the law of Pakistan, resolutions of parliament and shariah.

End.

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