Islamists lead protests against US drone strikes in Pakistan

Islamists lead protests against US drone strikes in Pakistan
Supporters of banned Pakistan charity organisation Jamaat-ud-Dawa (JuD) torch the US flag during a protest against US drone attacks in the Pakistani tribal region, in Multan on November 8, 2013.

PESHAWAR, Pakistan - Activists from right-wing religious parties led protests in Pakistan on Friday to denounce a US drone strike that killed the leader of the country's Taleban, after the movement named a notorious hardliner as his successor.

Pakistan last week reacted angrily to the drone attack that killed Tehreek-e-Taleban Pakistan (TTP) chief Hakimullah Mehsud in the North Waziristan tribal area.

The government said it destroyed efforts to begin talks to end the TTP's bloody six-year insurgency that has left thousands of soldiers, police and civilians dead.

The Interior Minister accused Washington of sabotaging peace efforts ,and former cricketer Imran Khan, head of the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaaf (PTI) party, called for a blockade of Nato convoys to Afghanistan.

Around 1,200 supporters of the Jamaat-i-Islami (JI) religious party staged a protest sit-in on Friday, blocking a Nato supply route in the north-western city of Peshawar, police and an AFP reporter said.

Mr Mohammad Ismail, a senior police officer in Peshawar said the road would reopen soon.

"It is temporary due to the protest rally, supplies will reopen on Saturday," he told AFP.

Pakistan is a key transit route for the US-led mission in landlocked Afghanistan, particularly as Nato forces withdraw by the end of next year. Many of the trucks now are actually removing Nato equipment after 12 years of war.

"Block Nato supply, stop drone attack," read one banner at the rally.

Protesters carrying placards and party flags were shouting anti-US slogans, an AFP reporter said.

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