News / Asia

Pakistan's Hardline Activists Protest Reopening of NATO Routes

Supporters of the Defense of Pakistan Council take part in a rally against the reopening of NATO supply lines in Lahore, Pakistan, July 8, 2012.
Supporters of the Defense of Pakistan Council take part in a rally against the reopening of NATO supply lines in Lahore, Pakistan, July 8, 2012.
Sharon Behn
ISLAMABAD — Thousands of hardline religious activists marched to Pakistan’s capital Monday to protest the government's decision to re-open NATO supply routes into Afghanistan. Improved political ties between the United States and Pakistan has galvanized the right-wing opposition.
 
Abdullah Gul, a member of the Defense Council of Pakistan, an alliance of more than 40 political and religious groups leading the rally, said supporters will not allow NATO supply trucks to drive through Pakistan into Afghanistan.
 
“We want to stop the NATO supplies lines at any cost, because this is right now directly an attack on the sovereignty of Pakistan and nothing can be compromised on the sovereignty of Pakistan,” said Gul.
 
The protest march began in the eastern Pakistani city of Lahore on Sunday, and Gul said the rally has gathered as many as 200,000 followers, with many calling for "jihad" or a holy war against America. Police earlier estimated the crowd at closer to 8,000.
 
Taking part in the protest is the former head of Pakistan’s intelligence services, Hamid Gul, and Hafiz Saeed, the leader of the banned Lashkar-e-Taiba militant group, blamed for the 2008 terror attacks in Mumbai, India.
 
Protest leaders are trying to take advantage of a general dissatisfaction with President Asif Ali Zardari’s government and increased anti-American sentiment among the Pakistani public. In a recent Pew report, three out of four Pakistanis surveyed consider the United States an enemy.
 
Saifullah Mahsud of the FATA Research Center in Islamabad dismissed the rally as election year politics.

"I think it’s another attempt on their behalf to perhaps to get as many votes as they possibly can based on the anti-American sentiment in the country," Mahsud said. "Apart from that, I don’t think this is going to make much of a difference as far as the policy of Pakistan’s government goes.”
 
Gul said Pakistani security forces would not be able to protect the supply route. He said protesters would take any measures short of violence to stop the NATO trucks from reaching Afghanistan.
 
“No one can protect these and definitely we will go in front of the trucks, we will lay own on the roads and we will stop them, they will not run across our bodies, it’s not going to be like this, we are not going to use any arms or ammunitions,” Gul said.
 
Pakistan re-opened the NATO supply routes after U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said the U.S. administration was “sorry” for U.S.-led coalition airstrikes that mistakenly killed 24 Pakistani soldiers last November.
 
Clinton last week acknowledged that despite the breakthrough deal on the supply route, Washington’s relationship with Islamabad still faced a number of challenges.
 
Gul said the Pakistani government has lost its credibility and that a government following Islamic laws should be in power. He said the Defense Council planned to stage a sit-in in the capital to force the current leadership to leave.

You May Like

Obama: Alaskans Feel Signs of Climate Change

They're seeing bigger storm surges as sea ice melts, more wildfires, erosion of glaciers, shorelines More

Katrina Brought Enduring Changes to New Orleans

The city’s recovery is the result of the people and culture the city is famous for, as well as newcomers and start-up industries More

Magical Photo Slides Show Native Americans in Late 1800s

Walter McClintock spent 20 years photographing the Blackfoot Indians and their vanishing culture at the dawn of the modern age More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Zahid from: Islam
July 10, 2012 6:50 AM
These bearded extremists do not represent the masses at all, nor do the so-called the popularity polls based on invariables only. I bet the people you see on top of the buses are all paid and fed by the same group. God knows where they get all their money from. The man leading them is an infamous ex-general who was described by NEWSWEEK in the 1980s as one of the richest generals in the world because of his wheeling and dealing habits.

He had no scruples in accepting American dollars freely in the name of 'mujahideens' then, but today he claims to have become a born-again muslim and a die-hard anti-American because the gravy train for himself, and his cohorts, are no longer available freely.
In Response

by: Sardar KHAN from: Lahore
July 10, 2012 11:57 AM
I am sorry to disagree with you.He is within his rights to change from pro to anti american.As the americans have changed from godfather of taliban to the killers of same in the name of freedom of Afghan people.In fact it is Islamicphobia which is turning them into biggest terrorists in the world.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalatesi
X
August 27, 2015 2:08 AM
Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalates

Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Is China's Economic Data Accurate?

Some investors say China's wild stock market gyrations have been made worse by worries about the reliability of that nation's economic data. And some critics say the reports can mislead investors by painting an unrealistically-strong picture of the economy. A key China scholar says Beijing is not fudging ((manipulating)) the numbers, but that the economy is evolving quickly from smoke-stack industries to services, and the ways of tracking new economic activity are falling behind the change. V
Video

Video Next to Iran, Climate at Forefront of Obama Agenda

President Barack Obama this week announced new initiatives aimed at making it easier for Americans to access renewable energy sources such as solar and wind. Obama is not slowing down when it comes to pushing through climate change measures, an issue he says is the greatest threat to the country’s national security. VOA correspondent Aru Pande has more from the White House.
Video

Video Shipping Containers Provide Experimental Housing

Housing prices around the San Francisco Bay area are out of reach for many people, so some young entrepreneurs, artists and tech industry workers are creating their own houses using converted shipping containers. But as VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports from Oakland, the effort requires ingenuity and dealing with restrictive local laws.
Video

Video Arctic Draws International Competition for Oil

A new geopolitical “Great Game” is underway in earth’s northernmost region, the Arctic, where Russia has claimed a large area for resource development and President Barack Obama recently approved Shell Oil Company’s test-drilling project in an area under U.S. control. Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Philippine Maritime Police: Chinese Fishermen a Threat to Country’s Security

China and the Philippines both claim maritime rights in the South China Sea.  That includes the right to fish in those waters. Jason Strother reports on how the Philippines is catching Chinese nationals it says are illegal poachers. He has the story from Palawan province.
Video

Video Technique May Eliminate Drill-and-Fill Dental Care

Many people dread visiting dentists because they're afraid of drills. Now, however, a technology developed by a British firm promises to eliminate the need for mechanical cleaning of dental cavities by speeding a natural process of tooth repair. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video China's Spratly Island Building Said to Light Up the Night 'Like A City'

Southeast Asian countries claim China has illegally seized territory in the Spratly islands. It is especially a concern for a Philippine mayor who says Beijing is occupying parts of his municipality. Jason Strother reports from the capital of Palawan province, Puerto Princesa.
Video

Video Ages-old Ice Reveals Secrets of Climate Change

Ice caps don't just exist at the world's poles. There are also tropical ice caps, and the largest sits atop the Peruvian Andes - but it is melting, quickly, and may be gone within the next 20 years. George Putic reports scientists are now rushing to take samples to get at the valuable information about climate change locked in the ice.
Video

Video French Experiment in Integrating Roma Under Threat

Plans to destroy France’s oldest slum have sparked an outcry on the part of its Roma residents. As Lisa Bryant reports from the Paris suburb of La Courneuve, rights groups argue the community is a fledgling experiment on integrating Roma who are often outcasts in many parts of Europe.
Video

Video Kenyans Turn to Agriculture for Business

Each year Kenyan universities continue to churn out graduates for the job market despite the already existing high rate of unemployment among youth in the country. Some of these young men and women have realized that agriculture can be as rewarding as any other business or job, and they are resorting to agribusiness in large numbers as a way of tackling unemployment. Rael Ombuor reports for VOA.
Video

Video First Women Graduate Elite Army Ranger School

Two women are making history for the U.S. Army by proving they are among the toughest of the tough. VOA's Carla Babb reports from Fort Benning, Georgia as 94 men and those two women rise as graduates of the difficult Ranger school.

VOA Blogs