Islamists protest against reopening of NATO routes in Pakistan
Thousands of hard-line Islamists took to the streets of the eastern city of Lahore on Sunday to protest against the reopening of NATO supply routes by Pakistani authorities, dpa reported.
The protest was organized by the Pakistan Defence council, a loose organization of over a dozen banned groups. It now planned to take the protest to the national parliament in the capital, Islamabad.
Participants waved banners reading: "We do not allow restoration of the supply routes;" "Say not to US and NATO;" and "Friends of US are traitors of Pakistan."
Pakistan on Tuesday agreed to reopen the supply line after a seven-month blockade prompted by NATO airstrike on two borders posts that killed 24 Pakistani soldiers in November.
Hafiz Saeed, leader of the banned Jamaat-ud-Dawa group, said the aim of the protest was to "reverse the decision to allow NATO transport from our territory."
India has blamed Hafiz Saeed for the Mumbai attacks in 2008 that killed 160 people, and the US has announced a 10-million-dollar bounty for information leading to his arrest or conviction.
Syed Munawar Hassan of Jammat-e-Islami, Pakistan's powerful Islamist party, branded the country's political leaders as slaves of the United States.
The government has already said it will not allow the groups to hold protests in Islamabad.