Pakistani opposition threatens to cut US supply route

Other News Materials 23 November 2008 11:56 (UTC +04:00)

A top Pakistani political opposition leader warned that the key supply route to Afghanistan could be blocked if the US military continues to launch airstrikes on Pakistani soil, dpa reported.

If the US does not stop the attacks, Pakistan's government should protest the violation of national sovereignty to the United Nations, Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan told German journalists in Islamabad.

Failure to cease the operations should also result in "review" of the rights of transit through Pakistan currently enjoyed by the US military to supply its troops in Afghanistan, the legislative leader of the Pakistani Muslim League-Nawaz said.

Khan said the importance of the route gives Pakistan ample leverage to force the US to stop the attacks.

"The feeling among common Pakistanis has reached the boiling point," he said.

The US considers Pakistan a friend and key ally in the fight against terrorism, but at the same time it attacks the country.

"The people don't understand that," Khan said.

On Saturday, a pilotless US aircraft launched another missile strike, killing four people in Pakistan's tribal region near the Afghan border. Two of the victims were said to be members of al-Qaeda, one of them a British citizen.

Khan said the deteriorating security situation in Pakistan and Afghanistan demonstrated that there is no military solution in the fight against the Taliban insurgency. He said a negotiated solution was the only way to achieve peace.

He said the "very unpopular" fight against extremists had cost Pakistan 1,500 soldier's lives, and reached its limit.

The opposition leader accused President Asif Ali Zardari of being "a lackey" for the US government.

He warned that if the drone attacks on Pakistani soil continue, people would take over the streets in protest "in the near future."

The government has formally protested the attacks several times, but a report in the US daily The Washington Post said the Asif administration had given secret approval for the military operations.

Pakistan's government denied the newspaper story.