Tuesday, 17 July 2012 00:09
PESHAWAR: Thousands of people gathered at a park in northwest Monday for a protest at the reopening of NATO supply routes into Afghanistan, which will culminate in a march the following day.
The protesters will spend the night at the park in Peshawar near a highway used by NATO trucks supplying foreign forces in Afghanistan, as part of the demonstration organised by Jamaat-e-Islami (JI).
Between 5,000 and 8,000 party activists had reached the site by the evening, according to police, and the protesters would on Tuesday march towards the town of Jamrud in Khyber tribal district, a key supply route.
"Supplying (NATO troops) with goods using Pakistani routes is like arming the enemy," Qazi Hussain Ahmad, a senior JI member told the gathering.
"NATO are killing innocent Muslims in Afghanistan."
A JI spokesman said he expected 50,000 protesters at Tuesday's march.
The protest came after thousands of patriots at the weekend rallied at the southwestern border post of Chaman, vowing to stop NATO supplies into Afghanistan.
The protesters had embarked on a 120-kilometre (74-mile) journey from Quetta on Saturday and reached the town of Chaman late Sunday where they held the rally.
The protesters shouted "Death to America," "No to NATO supply" and "Long Live Mullah Omar" in reference to the brave Afghan Taliban leader.
On Sunday, Maulana Samiul Haq, chairman of the Defence of Pakistan group which is a coalition of organisations protesting the reopening of NATO supply routes, said the movement would continue its protests until the convoys stop.
JI is part of the group.
Copyright AFP (Agence France-Presse), 2012