Anti-US protesters warn against attack on Pakistan

28 Sep

Karachi: Hundreds of protesters belonging to the ruling Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) gathered outside the US Consulate in Karachi on Tuesday to vent their anger over the US allegation linking Pakistan’s premier spy agency to the Haqqani network, a militant group blamed for attacks on American installations in Afghanistan.
Also, members of the Youth Parliament staged a demonstration outside the Karachi Press Club to condemn US allegations and support the ISI.
The PPP protesters, most of them coming from the PPP stronghold of Lyari, burnt US flags in front of the US Consulate on the busy Mai Kolachi Road in the wake of simmering Pak-US ties after US military chief Mike Mullen blamed Pakistan for supporting Haqqanis in Afghanistan.
Carrying flags of the PPP, Pakistan and the People’s Amn Committee, a group banned by the government, the protesters staged a sit-in on the Mai Kolachi Road after breaking blockades erected by law enforcers to stop them from approaching the US Consulate. Some women even tried to climb the wall of the consulate’s building.
The protesters sang national anthem and chanted slogans in favour of the Pakistan Army.
Addressing the protesters and later talking to media, General Secretary of the PPP’s District South, Zafar Baloch, who was arrested and then released by Rangers officials a few days ago for his alleged involvement in criminal activities, said the US was threatening Pakistan despite the fact that the country had rendered tremendous services in the war on terror.
Baloch said that during last 10 years, after Pakistan joined the US-led war on terror, around 35,000 Pakistani civilians and 6,000 security personnel had sacrificed their lives for world’s peace.
The PPP leader, who had been associated with the banned People’s Amn Committee and was recently injured in a grenade attack, said terrorism had inflicted a loss of $65 billion on Pakistan’s economy during the last decade. “But still the Pentagon is threatening Pakistan and blackmailing us over the so-called Haqqani network.”
Baloch, who was carrying a PPP flag in one hand a national flag in the other, said that the retiring US military chief, Mike Mullen, had leveled allegations against Pakistan to cover up his failure in Afghanistan.
“US blames Pakistan whenever it faces defeat in Afghanistan. But this time, their attitude is humiliating towards Pakistani nation, our armed forces and the ISI.”
Responding to a question about their alleged links with Baloch separatists, Baloch said that activists of Lyari had nothing to do with the separatist movement in Balochistan. “We’re supporters of Pakistan, the armed forces and President Asif Ali Zardari. But we support provincial autonomy.”
Baloch said they were protesting to thwart US efforts to undermine Pakistan’s sovereignty.
The protesters dispersed peacefully after submitting a memorandum with US Consulate officials.
Meanwhile, member of the Youth Parliament demanded of the United States to stop leveling false allegations against the ISI and threatening Pakistan’s sovereignty.
“Pakistan has lost almost 35,000 lives in the war against terror and witnessed suicide attacks on its mosques, schools, colleges, universities, religious institutes and even its military offices, but it never compromised on the war against terror and kept fighting extremists and terrorists who are a threat to international peace,” one of the demonstrators said.
They chanted slogans such as “shame shame Petraeus, shame shame Mullen” and stamped their feet in protest as they shouted: “If war is America’s right, our right is to fight.”
The group believed that America should rethink its statements, because the ISI had been cooperating with it for the last eleven months. “The Americans were not able to defeat one group, the Taliban, in eleven years. We are not a group, but a nation and we have our armed forces to protect our borders. Any attack on Pakistan will be considered an attack on the Muslim Ummah,” said Malik Zameer, President of the Pakistan Association for Young Leaders Development and Training, the umbrella organisation which caters to the Youth Parliament.
He also expressed concerns about the fact that an attack on the country will affect Pakistani nationals living abroad and threaten international peace. “It is high time the US begins exercising caution,” Zameer believed.
The young parliamentarians also urged the international community, especially NATO countries, to take notice of US threats, as an attack on Pakistan will affect every country whose interest is attached to Afghanistan.

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Posted by on September 28, 2011 in Protest


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