Leaders of Pak terror groups warn of protests over NATO routes
Pakistani radical Islamist leaders and terrorist groups, including the LeT-linked JuD, today warned of country-wide protests if the government reopened supply routes for NATO troops in Afghanistan that were closed after a cross-border air strike last year.world Updated: Mar 21, 2012 19:42 IST
Pakistani radical Islamist leaders and terrorist groups, including the LeT-linked JuD, on Wednesday warned of country-wide protests if the government reopened supply routes for NATO troops in Afghanistan that were closed after a cross-border air strike last year.
A day after a joint session of the Senate and National Assembly began debating a parliamentary panel's recommendations for revamping ties with the US, leaders of the Defa-e-Pakistan Council said they would not allow the government to reopen NATO supply routes.
"The Parliamentary Committee on National Security has given its recommendations but we will not allow the reopening of NATO supply routes under any circumstances. It would amount to selling out Pakistan's national security," said Maulana Samiul Haq of the Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam, who is often described as the "father of the Afghan Taliban".
The Defa-e-Pakistan Council, which was cobbled together by JuD chief Hafiz Mohammad Saeed last year, has organised a string of rallies and meetings across Pakistan at which it has attacked the US and India.
Addressing a news conference at the National Press Club, Haq, Jamaat-ud-Dawah's (JuD) deputy chief Abdul Rehman Makki and other leaders of the Council, said they plan to organise meetings on Friday to mobilise the people to oppose any move to reopen the supply routes that were used to transport supplies to US and allied troops in Afghanistan.
Haq warned that if the government goes ahead with any proposal to revive the supply routes, "strong protests" will be organised across the country.
The Council will also organise a meeting outside parliament in Islamabad on March 27 and rallies in Peshawar, Quetta and Muzaffarabad during April-May to mobilise the people, he said.
Pakistan closed the supply routes after a cross-border NATO air strike in November killed 24 Pakistani soldiers. The government order a parliamentary review of Pakistan-US ties after the attack.
The Parliamentary Committee on National Security has made 40 recommendations, including the imposition of a tax on US and NATO supplies that pass through Pakistan. The joint sitting of parliament will discuss these recommendations and endorse new terms of engagement with the US.
The US, Haq claimed, was involved in conspiracies to separate Balochistan province from Pakistan and was backing India in a bid to contain Pakistan.
Former Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) chief Hamid Gula, another senior leader of the Defa-e-Pakistan Council, said the grouping intended to stop parliament from accepting the recommendations of the Parliamentary Committee on National Security.
"The US only wants de-Islamisation, de-nuclearisation, de-militarisation and delinking of Pakistan from China," he said.
First Published: Mar 21, 2012 19:40 IST