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Thousands sit-in on NATO supply route in NW Pakistan

IRNA - Islamic Republic News Agency

Islamabad, July 17, IRNA -- Thousands Tuesday staged a sit-in in northwest Pakistan on the main supply route of NATO forces in Afghanistan to protest the government’s decision to reopen supply line for foreign forces in the neighbouring country.

Pakistan had closed NATO supply line over the killing of 24 soldiers in a NATO airstrike last November.

The supply line was unblocked following apology by the U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton over the losses of Pakistani security personnel.

The decision promoted strong criticism from main religious and several opposition political parties and they are organizing marches and rallies in major cities against the reopening of the NATO supply routes.

Jamaat-e-Islami party organized the sit-in on the main route in Khyber tribal region near Torkham border point. Hundreds of trucks with supplies for NATO forces daily cross Afghanistan via Torkham.

Israrullah, spokesman for Jamaat-e-Islami party said that the protest attracted a large number of people which reflect the people sentiments against the reopening of NATO supply line.

Jamaat-e-Islami chief Munawar Hasan speaking to the protestors criticized the government’s decision to allow NATO trucks from Pakistani soil.

He appealed to the people to force the government withdraws its decision as it will drag Pakistan into war in Afghanistan.

Hasan disputed the government’s claim that the supply line was reopened to facilitate withdrawal of foreign forces. He said the U.S. pressure forced the government to reopen supply line for NATO troops while ignoring parliamentary guidelines about the future relationship with the US.

He said the parliament in April had proposed tax on NATO trucks but the government decided not to charge NATO trucks.

The Jamaat leader also condemned the US drone strikes in the tribal regions and said the parliament had called for halt to the attacks but the US has rejected all Pakistani calls.

He also called for halt to military operations in the tribal regions and advised the government to find out negotiated settlement to the problems in the tribal areas.

Islamic Republic News Agency/IRNA NewsCode: 80234766

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