Pak tribesmen protest after airstrike kills 80
Over 4,000 tribesmen protested in a tribal area where around 80 people died in an airstrike on a suspected Al-Qaeda training camp.india Updated: Oct 31, 2006 12:15 IST
More than 4,000 tribesmen on Tuesday protested in a Pakistani tribal area where around 80 people died in an air strike on a suspected Al-Qaeda-linked training camp at a religious school.
The tribesmen recited religious poetry and chanted "Death to America" and "Death to Bush" as they rallied in Khar, the main town of Bajaur tribal district bordering Afghanistan where Monday's pre-dawn raid took place.
Authorities have closed all entry routes to the city to prevent outsiders from coming into Bajaur in order to maintain law and order, a local administration official said.
Pakistan's biggest coalition of religious parties, the Muttahida Majlis-e-Amal (MMA -- United Action Front) has also called protests in several cities, amid claims that most or all of the dead were civilians.
The country's military said the raid killed around 80 militants, including some foreigners and a local Taliban commander, Maulvi Liaqat, who ran the Islamic school, also known as a madrassa.
MMA Chief Qazi Hussain Ahmed was travelling to Khar in a convoy to offer his condolences, a spokesman for the coalition said in the northwestern city of Peshawar, but government sources said he would likely be denied entry.
In Peshawar, schools and offices were open and public transport was operating, as Islamists prepared to hold a peaceful protest at the city's centre later in the day.
Extra security had already been deployed in Peshawar due to a planned Tuesday visit by Britain's Prince Charles and his wife Camilla, which was cancelled on security fears following the deadly air strike.
In the southern city of Karachi, police stepped up security around the US Consulate, closing a main road leading to the building.