PESHAWAR: More than 10,000 Islamic party activists held an anti-US protest in Pakistan’s northwestern city of Peshawar Sunday calling for an immediate stop to American drone attacks in tribal areas, police said.
The activists from the country’s largest fundamentalist Islamic party Jamaat-i-Islami (JI) blocked a main road and staged a six-hour sit-in in front of the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa provincial parliament.
The demonstrators chanted anti-US slogans and carried banners and placards reading “Death for America”, “Stop drone attacks in Pakistan” and “No to American interference in Pakistan”.
One banner read: “Listen Obama, do not kill innocent Muslims”.
“Why is the government silent on US drone attacks? These attacks are against Pakistan’s interests,” the JI chief Syed Munawar Hasan told the gathering.
A police officer at the scene put the number of protesters at over 10,000, as did an intelligence official.
The protest coincided with two US drone strikes targeting vehicles in Pakistan’s lawless tribal district of North Waziristan which killed at least seven militants.
The US strikes are deeply unpopular among the Pakistani public, who see foreign military action on Pakistani soil as a violation of national sovereignty.
Pakistan has officially protested to the United States that the strikes violate its sovereignty, although some officials have said there is a tacit understanding between the two militaries allowing such action.