Protesters seek to stop NATO trucks in northwestern Pakistan

Large crowds of protesters in northwestern Pakistan have sought to stop trucks carrying supplies for the US-led NATO forces deployed in neighboring Afghanistan.

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The angry protesters on the outskirts of Peshawar, the capital of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, checked the documents of truck drivers headed toward Afghanistan.

The move was aimed at preventing vehicles from carrying supplies and equipment to NATO troops.

Anger is increasingly growing in Pakistan over the United States drone attacks in the country.

Local residents and eyewitnesses say batons-wielding protesters shouted at the drivers and dragged them out of their vehicles.

“Without waiting for me to take my documents out of the glove compartment, they dragged me out,” media outlets quoted one of the drivers as saying, adding, “We are also concerned about drone attacks, but they shouldn’t come down heavy on us like this.”

Also on Saturday, thousands of protesters gathered in northwestern city of Peshawar to oppose the killer drone strikes, which they consider as a sign of the US oppression and tyranny against their nation.
The protest, which was led by Pakistani politician and cricket star, Imran Khan, threatened to permanently block supply routes that carry fuel and food to foreign forces in Afghanistan unless the US stops its deadly drone strikes in tribal areas.

Khan, the leader of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (Movement for Justice) Party that controls northwestern province of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, has repeatedly warned that NATO supply routes to Afghanistan would be cut off if Washington continues with its deadly drone attacks in Pakistan.

The Pakistani government closed the border crossings used to transfer supplies to the US-led foreign forces in neighboring Afghanistan in late 2011, after 24 Pakistani soldiers were killed in a US airstrike in the border region.

The deadly incident heightened tensions between Islamabad and Washington. At that time Pakistan called for a US apology, which was snubbed by Washington.
Islamabad, however, agreed to reopen the NATO supply routes to Afghanistan on July 3 after then US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton apologized to Islamabad in a statement over the killing of the soldiers.

Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has also frequently blasted the US assassination drone strikes in his country, describing them as a violation of international law and the UN charter.

Islamabad has repeatedly condemned the attacks, saying they violate Pakistan’s sovereignty.

The aerial attacks, initiated by former US president, George W. Bush, have been escalated under Obama. This is while US President Barack Obama recently defended the use of the controversial drones as “self-defense.”

Post Author: Muhammad Zain