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

Could Nemtsov Threaten Putin in Death as in Life?

Dynamic and debonair opposition leader had supported liberal economic reforms, criticized Russian president's aggression in Ukraine More

Oil Smuggling Highlights Challenges in Shutting Down IS Finances

Pentagon spokesman says Islamic State 'certainly continues to get revenue from the oil industry black market' but that airstrikes have made a dent More

India Focuses on Infrastructure, Investment to Propel Economy

Government expects economy to grow at 8 to 8.5 percent in next fiscal year 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.
US Supreme Court Hears Hijab Discrimination Casei
X
Katherine Gypson
February 25, 2015 11:30 PM
The U.S. Supreme Court has heard opening arguments in a workplace religious discrimination case that examines whether a clothing store can refuse to hire a young woman for wearing the headscarf she says is a symbol of her Muslim faith. Katherine Gypson reports from the Supreme Court.
Video

Video US Supreme Court Hears Hijab Discrimination Case

The U.S. Supreme Court has heard opening arguments in a workplace religious discrimination case that examines whether a clothing store can refuse to hire a young woman for wearing the headscarf she says is a symbol of her Muslim faith. Katherine Gypson reports from the Supreme Court.
Video

Video Falling Gas Prices Hurt Nascent Illinois Hydraulic Fracturing Industry

Falling oil prices are helping consumers purchase cheaper petroleum at the pump. But that’s made hydraulic fracturing or “fracking” less economically viable for the companies in the United States invested in the process. VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports on one Midwestern town that was hoping to change its fortunes by cashing in on the next big U.S. oil boom.
Video

Video Fighting in Sudan's South Kordofan Fuels Mass Displacement

Heavy fighting in Sudan's South Kordofan state is causing hundreds of thousands to flee into uncertain conditions. Local aid organizations estimate as many as 400,000 civilians have been internally displaced since the conflict began more than three years ago, while another 250,000 have fled across the border to refugee camps in South Sudan. VOA's Adam Bailes reports.
Video

Video Lao Dam Project Runs Into Opposition

A Lao dam project on a section of the Mekong River is drawing opposition from local fishermen, international environmental groups and neighboring countries. VOA's Say Mony visited the region to investigate the concerns. Colin Lovett narrates.
Video

Video A Filmmaker Discovers Her Biracial Identity in "Little White Lie

Lacey Schwartz grew up in an upper middle-class Jewish family, in a town in upstate New York where almost everyone she knew was white. She assumed that she was, as well. Her recent documentary, Little White Lie, tells the story of how she uncovered the secret of her true racial background. VOA’s Carolyn Weaver has more on the film.
Video

Video Deep Under Antarctic Ice Sheet, Life!

With the end of summer in the Southern hemisphere, the Antarctic research season is over. Scientists from Northern Illinois University are back in their laboratory after a 3-month expedition on the Ross Ice Shelf, the world’s largest floating ice sheet. As VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports, they hope to find clues to explain the dynamics of the rapidly melting ice and its impact on sea level rise.
Video

Video US-Cuba Normalization Talks Resume Friday

Negotiations aimed at normalizing diplomatic relations between the U.S. and Cuba resume Friday. On the table: lifting a half-century trade embargo and easing banking and travel restrictions. There's opposition in Congress, but some analysts say there may be sufficient political and economic incentives in both nations for a potential breakthrough this year. VOA's Mil Arcega reports.
Video

Video Pakistan's Deadline For SIM Registration Has Cellphone Users Scrambling

Pakistani cell phone users have until midnight Thursday to register their SIM cards, or their service will be cut off. While some privacy experts worry about government intrusion, many Pakistanis are just worried about keeping their phone lines open. VOA Deewa reporter Arshad Muhmand has more from Peshawar.
Video

Video Myanmar Warns Factory Workers to End Strikes

Outside Myanmar's main city Yangon, thousands of workers walked off their jobs earlier this month demanding a doubling of their wages, pay raises after a year and input from labor unions on industrial regulations. Since Friday, the standoff has grown more tense as police moved in to disrupt the sit-ins, resulting in clashes that injured people from both sides. VOA correspondent Steve Herman visited industrial zones which have become a focus of Myanmar's fledgling workers rights movement.
Video

Video Oscar Winners Do More Than Thank the Academy

The Academy Awards presentation is Hollywood’s night to reward the best movies from the previous year. It’s typically a lot of glitter, a lot of thank you’s, a lot of speeches. But many of this year’s speeches carried messages beyond the thank you's. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti takes a look.

All About America

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More