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PESHAWAR: Thousands of demonstrators staged a protest against US drone strikes blocking a main road in Peshawar on Saturday and threatened to continue their demonstration until the attacks ended, whereas the provincial secretary information of the PTI announced the party would block Nato supply routes.

The protest was led by cricketer-turned-politician Imran Khan and his party, the Pakistan Tehrik-e-Insaf (PTI) along with their allies in the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa provincial government.

The Jamaat-i-Islami (JI) and Awami Jamhoori Ittehad (AJIP) also confirmed their participation.

''We will put pressure on America, and our protest will continue if drone attacks are not stopped,'' Khan told the protesters.

Provincial secretary information of PTI Ishtiaq Ormar announced that Nato supply containers to and from Afghanistan via Khyber Pakhtunkhwa would be stopped at the border points.

In a statement issued here Saturday, he said, “We by this step wanted to tell the world that we could do what we said and we could do anything for our people.”

Ormar said that PTI’s teams would stop Nato supply from entering into the borders of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa at any point including Khairabad, Charsadda, Bannu, Dera Ismail Khan and Hangu, while this blockade of Nato supply would continue till US stopped drone attacks and formally sought apology on human killings in Pakistan.

He said that American drone attacks were brutally extended to the settled areas of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and if this was not noticed and properly reacted then such attacks could also be made at any other part of the country as well.

Earlier during the day, Khan called for a complete blockade of Nato convoys to Afghanistan to put pressure on the US to abandon its drone programme. “We will not allow Nato supplies to pass from Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and in any case will stop drone strikes,” Khan told the gathering.

“We are here to give a clear message that now Pakistanis cannot remain silent over drone attacks,” Shah Mehmood Qureshi, a senior member of the PTI, said in a speech to the protesters.

Party workers of the PTI and JI had arrived at Ring Road in the provincial capital from across the country. According to some estimates, around 10,000 people participated in Saturday’s protest. The protesters shouted anti-US slogans, such as “Down with America” and “Stop drone attacks.”

Strict security arrangements were put in place by the provincial government, including deployment of over 500 polce personnel to ensure safety and order. Transporters were directed to use alternative routes.

“I am participating in today’s sit-in to convey a message to America that we hate them since they are killing our people in drone attacks,” said Hussain Shah, a 21-year-old university student. “America must stop drone attacks for peace in our country.”

The US Embassy in Islamabad declined to comment on the protest.

The protest comes only two days after a rare US drone strike outside of Pakistan’s remote tribal region killed six people, including senior commanders of the Haqqani network, at a seminary in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa’s Hangu district.

The attack outraged Pakistani officials, as did one on Nov 1 that killed the former leader of the Pakistani Taliban, Hakimullah Mehsud, a day before the Pakistani government said it was going to invite him to hold peace talks.

Khan earlier set a November 20 deadline for the halting of drone strikes and threatened to block Nato convoys in northwestern Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.

But on Saturday he said he will take the issue to the country's top court and, if necessary, to the international court of justice.

Nato supplies were suspended Saturday because of the rally, which was held on same route used by Nato trucks.

Ring Road leads to Torkham, one of two border crossings used to ship supplies from Pakistan to Afghanistan, and is a key transit route to transport supplies to Nato troops in the war-torn country.

Tahir Khan, a government official at Torkham, says there is normally little Nato supply traffic on the route on Saturdays. Most trucks arrive at the border by Friday evening to clear customs.

‘Protests to continue until drone strikes stop’

PTI chief Imran Khan has been a vocal critic of US drone strikes, saying they violate Pakistan's sovereignty.

Speaking to reporters earlier in Islamabad before heading to Peshawar for the demonstration, Khan said that the federal government was doing nothing on its part to stop drone attacks and the protest against the strikes would continue indefinitely.

Khan said that apart from issuing condemnation statements, nothing concrete had been done to put an effective stop to drone attacks.

He said that he had been protesting against drone attacks for the past nine years, but the government had yet to do anything about it.

Khan said Nato supplies would not be allowed to pass via KP, adding that the PTI-led government in the province possessed the mandate to block Nato supplies.

He moreover said PTI had promised to eradicate corruption from the country and it would fulfill its promise.

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Comments (37) Closed

Nov 23, 2013 04:18pm

Imran khan a true leader.

Nov 23, 2013 05:01pm

Futile protest. Stop FATA area to be used by the Taliban's for regrouping to attach NATO interest in Afghanistan. Drone strikes will cease

Nov 23, 2013 05:41pm

Well this will send really good signal to US forces that Pakistani are also Humans. We have right to live without Drones too.

Roxana R
Nov 23, 2013 06:10pm

Nov 23, 2013 06:50pm

Mark my words, nothing is going to come out of this. IK is just too naive to understand politics.

Nov 23, 2013 07:08pm

Well done PTI. The whole nation is with you. But here comes a difficult question. Pakistan showed the ''show'' of falling the ''Drone''. The question is. Was it a real thing???? Or just......? Please have mercy on Pakistan. Dont let it be killed by america smilingly. Do something.

Nov 23, 2013 07:34pm

The whole country goes into mourning because another terrorist got killed! We have to be the most messed up people in the world.

Nov 23, 2013 08:12pm

Drone strikes will stop when terrorists stop crossing border and stop killing innocents. How about Mr. Khan addressing this core issue?

Ayesha Khan
Nov 23, 2013 09:14pm

This is the only way to put a stop to the drone strikes. No dialogues, and appeals in the UN will bring any fruit. It is the duty of the people now to stop the supplies of NATO, and not give them easy access to enter into our country. The US just doesn't seem to get it, maybe they might understand this language.

Ayesha Khan
Nov 23, 2013 09:05pm

This is the only way to put a stop to the drone strikes. No dialogues, and appeals in the UN will bring any fruit. It is the duty of the people now to stop the supplies of NATO, and not give them easy access to enter into our country. The US just doesn't seem to get it, maybe they might understand this language.

Gopal Ramdev
Nov 23, 2013 09:16pm

why do you have to mention that he is cricketer-turned-politician? he is a politician would suffice! everybody knows he was a cricketer!

Nov 24, 2013 12:13am

Imran is distracting the public attention from failure of the PTI government to show any improvement in the life of ordinary citizen to this aggitation against drone attacks. Why does the PTI government not focus its attention on improvement in law and order, education and reducing corruption. American will be gone in 2014. Will the problem of terriorism disappear after that. I doubt it

What high hope we had for Imran Khan and what a disappointment

Nov 24, 2013 12:22am

How about we protest against the Taliban killing our people all over the country? If we cant stand up against these extremists, I certainly don't mind the US coming in and catching these hypocrites.

freedom of speech
Nov 24, 2013 02:45am

How can you estimate that the people are around 10,000? If you watch the video, I think the people are much more than 10,000.

Nov 24, 2013 02:55am

Imran should pay more attention to the missing people instead of drone attacks. The drone attacks rids the country of unwanted mischiefmongers with alleged collateral damage. The missing people are the innocent victims.

Nov 24, 2013 03:12am

lets do it in blaze of conviction, for a peaceful and glorious Pakistan, for the sake of our next generations who may breathe in clean air in clean Pakistan. there's always one first step if our govts cannot do it then join hands with a provincial assembly govt and trust me USA or Pak Govt cannot do anything to stop this glut of people to stop drones.... no political scoring but shame on our government for failing to stop these drones.

Nov 24, 2013 03:36am

PTI does not understand the situation, we are lucky, we have drones in the air not boots on the grounds. It is not difficult for them to chase those bad guys to their dens.

sajid khan
Nov 24, 2013 06:25am

Its a political drama. I would urge pti to plz grow up. Ur road blockades are causing problems to the people.

JD Power
Nov 24, 2013 08:19am

A missed opportunity to drone the rally itself. Pakistan learning a lesson or two.

Ihtesham Kayani
Nov 24, 2013 09:38am

People gave their verdict against drone attacks in a massive gathering. PML N govt which wowed to stop drone attacks in pre-election rallies, now is mocking PTI for blocking NATO supply route, what hypocrisy.

Nov 24, 2013 10:26am

A practical step by a practical person.

irum afshan qureshi
Nov 24, 2013 10:46am

Pakistan Tehreek e Insaaf stands for Self Esteem; Humanity;Justice. They have proven to be a personification of these. Like Allama Iqbal has said......Khudi se mard-e-khud agaah ka jalaal o jamaal, keh yeh kitaab haie baqi tamaam tafseerein. [a man who is aware of his identity is dynamic,he is the leader and not the lead.] Long Live Pakistan.

Ghalib Khan
Nov 24, 2013 11:03am

Dear IK, not thousands millions will join you if you start protesting against Suicide Bombers, attacks on Polio Vacation teams,

Think about protesting and opposing the murderers rather their then their killers

Nov 24, 2013 01:13pm

All good and well Mr Khan but why do you not protest when the TTP kills innocent Muslims in Pakistan? Instead you protest when one of the TTP members is killed in a drone attack. Seems like the TTP members are more value to you than the standard person in Pakistan.The PTI protest is nothing but a drama, you think blocking NATO supplier will force America to stop drone attacks? If you think that is the case then obviously you have lost the plot. Last time I checked NATO was an alliance of countries from North America and Europe not a company run by USA. Maybe you should find a way of blocking guns, bombs and other items getting in the hands of the TTP, only then will you have done something good for Pakistan

Shoaib Wahab
Nov 24, 2013 01:45pm

A good step by PTI...

Nov 24, 2013 04:14pm

@Ihtesham Kayani: People spoke but it means nothing... The verdict of drone strike was given long time back by our so called government. In Pakistan There is no such thing as public opinion. There is published opinion..

Gerry D'Cunha
Nov 24, 2013 04:46pm

toppi drama by imran khan to stage a protest against US drone strikes blocking a main road in Peshawar on Saturday - nato containers do not operate on saturdays & sundays and why doesn't he announces to stop taking aid from the americans for his hospital. hyprocrates!!!! only to fool the the innocent people of pakistan to gain their sympathy and to get into power.

Nov 24, 2013 05:01pm

Why people don't understand you cannot stop DRONES until you stop taking aid ? It is silly to fight against drones while taking the aid from US. Do you think Americans are fools to give aid to a nuclear armed nation even there many poorer countries in the world that they don't spend money on nuclear weapons ?

Muhammad Ashraf
Nov 24, 2013 06:30pm

@Ghalib Khan: lets first stop drone attacks, and the attackers on polio teams will die by themselves.

Nov 24, 2013 09:50pm

@Ghalib Khan: My dear Ghalib, Afghans are not pigeons they do not have compatible weapons but they know how to fight, they never attacked on USA above all they are the citizen of Pakistan they are paying direct and indirect taxes is the duty of Pakistan army, police and Govt: to protect them.But I am really sorry to say we are betraying our peoples. Is Pakistan a safari? .

Nov 24, 2013 11:59pm

Nothing comes for free in this world. Aid comes with Drones.

raja hindustani
Nov 25, 2013 12:47am

When TTP militants kills innocent pakistani then nobody cares to protest but when the same TTP militants get killed by US drone, then thousands of people come down to street to protest. It seems militants life is more precious than innocent civilians lives in Pakistan. :(

Nov 25, 2013 03:57am

@Zunair: And you, a True Mindless Follower of a TRUE HOT AIR Leader.

Salman Gul
Nov 25, 2013 10:46am

@Naeem: who says US will be gone?

Nov 25, 2013 11:14pm

Bravo PTI...You rock

Nov 26, 2013 01:39am

Dear people, Imran khan is right , just who are Americans to attack on our soil, without our permission and when our people are already dying cause of terrorist attacks, the Americans do drone attacks on our villages without any knowledge and make it even more worst for us to handle terrorsim, the drone attacks do need to stop, this is our land and if we have terrorist in our nation then we deal with them ourselves, our way whether by military action or through negotiation but not by taking help by some foriegn country, so imran khan is right in every way and if it wasnt for Imran khan we people would had never knew there were drone type of attacks on our land, so you should be thankful to him.

And second people who support military action i would like to clear you that, fata where all the militant organisation resides isnt some place like swat where the situation was different thats why the army got sucessful in curbing terrorism out of there, but fata is way more different then swat, the demographics are alot different then swat, fata is the home ground of all militants, it their turf and its been 9 years and the pak army couldnt even kill any militant instead our own 50,000 people died, so was military action any helpful ? So thats why Imran Khan is trying to negotiate with the terrorist so that people wont have to die in this stupid war which Americans had created for their own gains. I hope now you people understand why Imran khan wanted to negotiate with the militants otherwise he says he will go for the military action if the talks failed.

He is more desperate more then any guy in Pak to restore peace in Pak, cause he want to bring investmeny in KPK, which will help KPK to grow strong, KPK is really poor, think about it negotiation peace talk become sucessful how much investment will come to KPK and making KPK the most corruption free properous province. Then you people will cherish Imran Khan, and will say Imran khan was righy from the beginning.

Nov 26, 2013 08:18pm

@Sameer: What a joke when you say that "He is more desperate more then any guy in Pak to restore peace in Pak, cause he want to bring investment in KPK, which will help KPK to grow strong" how come he can ask any investor to invest in KPK when he is openly supporting the terrorists outfits he never protested as vehemently against the atrocities of Taliban as he does against the drones attacks and moreover for the last two days his mindless followers have badly hampered the trucks who were carrying goods for Afghan people infact badly hurting Pak-Afghan trade what signals he is giving to the investors