Sunday, January 29, 2012

Pakistan leaders spurn pro-NATO move

Activists of Pakistan Defense Council gather during a rally in the city of Multan on January 29, 2012

Source: Press TV

Pakistani religious and political leaders say they will not let Islamabad reopen Pakistan's crossings to NATO's supply trucks, closed after the US forces with the alliance conducted a deadly attack against the country.

The leaders made the announcement on Sunday during a massive anti-US demonstration arranged by the Defense of Pakistan Council, which is an alliance of 40 religious and political parties, in the city of Multan, about 400 kilometers southwest of the capital Islamabad.

Attending the demonstration, thousands of people from different religious and political groups condemned Washington's policies and its non-UN-sanctioned drone strikes on Pakistan's tribal region.

Islamabad stopped the supply convoys destined for the 130,000-strong US-led force deployed in Afghanistan in response to NATO airstrikes on November 26 that killed 24 Pakistani soldiers at two checkpoints on the Afghan border.

According to reports, Pakistan's parliament is likely to approve reopening of the supply routes to NATO on the condition that the Western military alliance pays heavy tariffs.

Speaking during the rally, the chief of Jamaat-e-Islami, Pakistan's largest religious political party, said that any resolution submitted in parliament favoring the reopening of the routes would be a step to the detriment of the country.

In a reference to the clandestine activities of the CIA and Israel's spy agency, Mossad, in Pakistan, Munawar Hassan said that international spy agencies were involved in terrorist incidents in the country.

He also stated it was time that Islamabad detached itself from Washington and its harmful policies for the region.

The head of Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam-Sami, another large religious political party in Pakistan, told the participants in the rally that if “the US, Israel, India or NATO forces” attacked Pakistan's border again, members of his party would retaliate against them with full force.

A leader of a religious movement warned the government that if it decided to reopen the routes, his group's members would block the passageways themselves.

Former chief of Pakistan's Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI), Hameed Gul, also said that renewed flow of the supplies to the US-led forces would expose Pakistan to potential dangers.

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