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Pakistanis End Strike to Protest US Drone Attacks

Supporters of a Pakistani religious party Jamaat-e- Islami arrive to join a rally against the U.S. drone strikes in Pakistani tribal areas, in Peshawar, April 23, 2011

Thousands of Pakistanis opposed to U.S. drone strikes on militants in the country's northwest have ended their two-day blockade of a key supply route for U.S.-led NATO troops fighting Taliban insurgents in neighboring Afghanistan.

The call for the blockade, which began Saturday on the outskirts of Peshawar, came from the Tehreek-e-Insaf (Movement for Justice) party led by former cricket star Imran Khan.

Khan demanded Sunday that the attacks end or there would be more demonstrations in various parts of the country aimed at blocking NATO supplies, including in the capital, Islamabad.

NATO ships much of its non-lethal supplies through Pakistan, but local militants often attack the convoys.

U.S. drone strikes against militants based in Pakistan's tribal belt have been a source of friction between the two countries. U.S. officials do not acknowledge the missile strikes, which are deeply unpopular among the local population.

The Pakistani government publicly condemns the drone strikes as undermining its sovereignty, but regional experts say Islamabad privately coordinates with the U.S. government on selecting targets.