A convoy of demonstrating Pakistani Islamists head towards the Pakistan-Afghan Chaman border in Quetta on July 14, 2012.  About 5,000 Pakistani Islamists who oppose the anti-terrorism alliance with Washington began a march to the border July 14 in protest over the reopening of NATO supply routes into Afghanistan.   AFP
A convoy of demonstrating Pakistani Islamists head towards the Pakistan-Afghan Chaman border in Quetta against the resumption of Nato supplies on July 14, 2012.— Photo by AFP

QUETTA: About 5,000 Islamists who oppose the anti-terrorism alliance with Washington began a march to the border on Saturday in protest over the reopening of Nato supply routes into Afghanistan.

The protesters joined a convoy of buses, trucks and cars with many carrying the black-and-white striped flags of Difa-i-Pakistan Council.

They will make stop-overs in various cities and towns on the 120km highway from Quetta to Chaman, on the border with Afghanistan, where they will arrive on Sunday.

Pakistan reopened overland routes to Nato convoys crossing into Afghanistan on July 3 after closing them in protest against a US air raid that killed 24 Pakistani soldiers in November.

“We have started this march to protest against the resumption of Nato supply. We warn our government to get out of the war on terrorism,” DPC chairman Maulana Samiul Haq said as the convoy set off.

“If they think that the United States’ war is only against Afghanistan, they are wrong. The US will target all the Muslim countries after strengthening its control on Afghanistan,” Maulana Sami said.

“But we won’t allow them to do this; we will fight against them and will fail their plans.”

The DPC has attracted large turnouts at rallies across the country, which some see as a build-up to the formation of a political party to contest the next general election, widely expected within the next year.

The convoy is scheduled to reach Chaman on Sunday, however the protesters are unlikely to disrupt traffic at the border because the march has been declared peaceful.

“We don’t have any plan to go on the crossing point on the border, instead we will stage a rally inside the Chaman town and closer to the Afghanistan border,” Abdul Sattar Chishti, a local organiser of the march, told AFP

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