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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

Pakistan rallies oppose possible restoration of NATO supply route

IRNA - Islamic Republic News Agency

Islamabad, March 24, IRNA -- Rallies were held in Pakistan’s major cities on Friday against the possible restoration of supply line for NATO forces in Afghanistan and the speakers warned stiff resistance against any such move.

Pakistan had suspended land route for NATO supplies in November following US fighter jets and helicopters raided Pakistani border posts and killed 24 soldiers.

The parliament has opened debate whether or not to restore the supply line and the lawmakers will also reevaluate future relationship with the U.S. and NATO in Afghanistan.

A parliamentary panel in its recommendations for the relationship with the U.S. has suggested restoration of NATO supply line with certain conditions including levying of tax on the NATO trucks. The panel had also called for a formal U.S. apology over the deaths of Pakistani soldiers. Washington has so far refused to tender apology.

The recommendation sparked strong resentment by the opposition parties and mainstream religious groups.

Islamic parties had called for demonstrations across Pakistan on Friday to show their opposition to any possible restoration of NATO supply line.

Several hundred supporters of Islamic groups staged demonstration in the capital Islamabad and chanted slogans against the suggestion by the parliamentary panel to restore NATO supply route.

Supporters of Jamaat-ud-Dawaa (JuD) party gathered outside the National Press Club and the speakers said they would strongly oppose the reopening of NATO supply line if the government unblocked the line.

In the port city of Karachi, religious parties rallied against the imminent reopening of NATO supply routes and announced to oppose any such attempt.

Jamaat-e-Islami party led the rally and supporters of other Islamic groups joined the protest. JuD also protested separately in Karachi.

The demonstrators were holding placards, inscribed with slogans “Only Jehad can defend Pakistan”, and “Pakistanis hate Nato forces”.

In the industrial city of Faisalabad, thousands took part on a public meeting of Jamaat-e-Islami vowed to resist the government’s decision to reopen NATO supply line.

Jamaat Chief Munawar Hassan told the public meeting that the party will march towards the parliament if NATO supply line was restored.

Chief of an alliance of Islamic groups, Maulana Sami-ul-Haq said in the northwestern city of Peshawar that people will take to streets if NATO land route was opened.

Haq, who leads Defence of Pakistan Council, an amalgamation of nearly two dozens groups, said restoration of NATO supply line would hurt sentiments of the people of Pakistan.

He regretted that the Americans are so ‘arrogant’ that they have not yet apologized for killing 24 Pakistani soldiers in November.

Islamic Republic News Agency/IRNA NewsCode: 80049396

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