World Bulletin/News Desk
Thousands of Pakistanis on Saturday blocked the NATO supplies route to neighboring Afghanistan by staging a sit-in at Peshawar’s Ring Road in the northwestern Khyber Pakhtunkhawa (KP) some 60km from borders.
"Go America go", "Stop killing innocent people in drone attacks" and "Stop extra-judicial killings” were the slogans chanted by the angry protestors.
The protestors were members and supporters of the Pakistan Tehrik-e-Insaf (PTI) party of cricketer-turned-politician Imran Khan and its allies, including the Jamat-e-Islami, one of Pakistan's two mainstream religious parties.
Guarded by heavy security, the protestors were carrying banners and placards engraved with anti-US slogans amid national anthem and songs played from the stage with short intervals.
The crowd got excited as PTI chief Khan, who is considered a national hero for leading the national cricket squad that won Pakistan's its only world cup in 1992, appeared on a giant stage alongside other party leaders.
Though the PTI is the ruling party in the KP province, the provincial chief minister and his cabinet members did not participate in the sit-in.
The custom officials had already stopped the NATO containers from trickling into either side of the border on Friday night following a blast at a customs office in Khyber Agency.
NATO supplies will remain blocked until Monday, according to an announcement by the custom officials making the task easier for the PTI.
Although, it is not clear yet that how long the sit-in will continue, PTI party sources suggested the blockade would continue for an indefinite period.
"The party chief will make an announcement about the future course of action in his address (to the sit-in)," Murad Saeed, a party leader and a member of KP assembly, told Anadolu Agency.
The provincial government had already tightened security around the US Consulate and other foreign missions in Peshawar, fearing any reprisal against the last drone attack that hit a religious seminary three days ago in the northwestern Hangu district killing six people.
The November 21 attack was the first time an urban area beyond the tribal region was targeted.
The US and Pakistani intelligence agencies claimed that the deceased included two commanders of the Haqqani Network, a powerful faction of the Afghani Taliban blamed for some of the deadliest attacks on US-led foreign forces across the border.
Pakistan officially opposes and condemns the drone strikes that have reportedly killed over 3,000 people in the northwestern restive region of Waziristan since 2004.
Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, who is serving his third tenure as premier, has blamed the US of sabotaging his government’s efforts to hold peace talks with local Taliban by killing the umbrella Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) chief Hakimullah Mehsud in a drone strike on November 1.Last Mod: 23 Kasım 2013, 15:39