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

IS Militants Release 49 Turkish Hostages

Turkey's state-run Anadolu news agency reports that no ransom was paid and no conditions accepted for the hostages' release; few details of the release are known More

Photogallery IS Attacks Send Thousands of Syrian Kurds Fleeing to Turkey

Syrian Observatory for Human Rights says more than 300 Kurdish fighters crossed into Syria from Turkey to defend a Kurdish area from attack by the Islamic militants More

3-day Lockdown to Fight Ebola Continues In Sierra Leone

Thousands of health workers are going door to door in the West African country of 6 million, informing people of how to avoid Ebola, handing out soap 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.
Migrants Caught in No-Man's Land Called Calaisi
X
Lisa Bryant
September 19, 2014 5:04 PM
The deaths of hundreds of migrants in the Mediterranean this week has only recast the spotlight on the perils of reaching Europe. And for those forunate enough to reach a place like Calais, France, only find that their problems aren't over. Lisa Bryant has the story.
Video

Video Migrants Caught in No-Man's Land Called Calais

The deaths of hundreds of migrants in the Mediterranean this week has only recast the spotlight on the perils of reaching Europe. And for those forunate enough to reach a place like Calais, France, only find that their problems aren't over. Lisa Bryant has the story.
Video

Video Westgate Siege Anniversary Brings Back Painful Memories

One year after it happened, the survivors of the terror attack on Nairobi's Westgate Shopping Mall still cannot shake the images of that tragic incident. For VOA, Mohammed Yusuf tells the story of victims still waiting for the answer to the question 'how could this happen?'
Video

Video Militant Assault in Syria Displaces Thousands of Kurds

A major assault by Islamic State militants on Kurds in Syria has sent a wave of new refugees to the Turkish border, where they were stopped by Turkish border security. Turkey is already hosting about 700,000 Syrian refugees who fled the civil war between the government and the opposition. But the government in Ankara has a history of strained relations with Turkey's Kurdish minority. Zlatica Hoke reports Turkey is asking for international help.
Video

Video CERN Accelerator Back in Business

The long upgrade of the Large Hadron Collider is over. The scientific instrument responsible for the discovery of the Higgs boson -- the so-called "God particle" -- is being brought up to speed in time for this month's 60th anniversary of the European Organization for Nuclear Research, known by its French acronym CERN. Physicists hope the accelerator will help them uncover more secrets about the origins of the universe. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Whaling Summit Votes to Uphold Ban on Japan Whale Hunt

The International Whaling Commission, meeting in Slovenia, has voted to uphold a court ruling banning Japan from hunting whales in the Antarctic Ocean. Conservationists hailed the ruling as a victory, but Tokyo says it will submit revised plans for a whale hunt in 2015. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Russian Economy Reeling After New Western Sanctions

A new wave of Western sanctions is hitting Russia’s economy hard. State-owned energy firms continue to bleed profits and Russia’s national currency plunged to a new low this week after the U.S. and the European Union announced new sanctions to punish Russia's aggressive stance in eastern Ukraine. But as Mil Arcega reports, the sanctions could also prove costly for European and American companies.
Video

Video Belgian Researchers Discover Way to Block Cancer Metastasis

Cancer remains one of the deadliest diseases, despite many new methods to combat it. Modern medicine has treatments to prevent the growth of primary tumor cells. But most cancer deaths are caused by metastasis, the stage when primary tumor cells change and move to other parts of the body. A team of Belgian scientists says it has found a way to prevent that process. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Mogadishu's Flood of Foreign Workers Leaves Somalis Out of Work

Unemployment and conflict has forced many young Somalians out of the country in search of a better life. But a newfound stability in the once-lawless nation has created hope — and jobs — which, some say, are too often being filled by foreigners. Abdulaziz Billow reports from Mogadishu.
Video

Video A Dinosaur Fit for Land and Water

Residents and tourists in Washington D.C. can now examine a life-size replica of an unusual dinosaur that lived almost a hundred million years ago in northern Africa. Scientists say studying the behemoth named Spinosaurus helps them better understand how some prehistoric animals adapted to life on land and in water. The Spinosaurus replica is on display at the National Geographic museum. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Iraqi Kurdistan Church Helps Christian Children Cope find shelter in churches in the Kurdish capital, Irbil

In the past six weeks, tens of thousands of Iraqi Christians have been forced to flee their homes by Islamic State militants and find shelter in churches in the Kurdish capital, Irbil. Despite U.S. airstrikes in the region, the prospect of people returning home is still very low and concerns are starting to grow over the impact this is having on the displaced youth. Sebastian Meyer reports from Irbil on how one church is coping.
Video

Video NASA Picks Boeing, SpaceX to Carry Astronauts Into Space

The U.S. space agency, NASA, has chosen Boeing and SpaceX companies to build the next generation of spacecraft that will carry U.S. astronauts to the International Space Station by the year 2017. The deal with private industry enables NASA to end its dependence on Russia to send space crews into low Earth orbit and back. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Future of Ukrainian Former President's Estate Uncertain

More than six months after Ukraine's former President Viktor Yanukovych fled revolution to Russia, authorities have yet to gain control of his palatial estate. Protesters occupy the grounds and opened it to tourists but they are also refusing to turn it over to the state. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Mezhigirya, just north of Kyiv.


Carnage and mayhem are part of daily life in northern Nigeria, the result of a terror campaign by the Islamist group Boko Haram. Fears are growing that Nigeria’s government may not know how to counter it, and may be making things worse. More

AppleAndroid