ISLAMABAD, Pakistan, July 15 (UPI) -- Pakistanis opposed to the reopening of NATO land routes into Afghanistan marched during the weekend, urging their government to scrap its decision.
The two-day long march, in which thousands took part, was organized by dozens of religious and political parties in Balochistan, and was led by an alliance of alliance religious and political parties called the Defense of Pakistan Council, China's state-run Xinhua News Agency reported.
It was the second such long march by the DPC as part of its countrywide campaign against the Pakistani government's July 3 decision to reopen the supply routes after they had been closed in November. The first march between Lahore, Pakistan's second-largest city, and the capital Islamabad was held a week ago. More such protests are planned.
"There is a flood of people in the march," DPC head Maulana Sami-ul-Haq told Xinhua by phone from Chaman, the border town in Balochistan and one of the two main NATO supply routes.
He said Pakistanis will "force the government to stop serving the interests" of the United States and its NATO allies.
The routes were closed after a NATO airstrike inadvertently killed 24 Pakistani soldiers in November.
Security remained tight during the protest march and no incidents were reported, Xinhua said.
The Pakistan Daily Times quoted DPC leaders as saying the march was a referendum against the government, which they said had restored the supply routes against wishes of the people.
They claimed the government's decision was influenced by immense pressure from their foreign masters, and said the people would never accept it and should be withdrawn immediately, the Daily Times reported.
A similar protest was organized in the port city of Karachi by Jamaat-e-Islami, Pakistan's most powerful Islamic political party, state-run television reported.
"Our foreign policy should be [an] independent foreign policy, which means that we should look after our own priorities and not the American priorities," party President Syed Munawar Hasan told Press TV, adding, "Restoration of NATO supply is license to kill Muslims!"
|Additional World News Stories|
HEMPSTEAD, N.Y., May 19 (UPI) --A Hempstead, N.Y., police officer shot and killed a 21-year-old Hofstra University student while aiming for the man holding her hostage, officials said.
ST. PETERSBURG, Russia, May 19 (UPI) --Alexei Balabanov, a prominent Russian film director in the 1990s and 2000s, has died in a village near St. Petersburg, a colleague said. He was 54.
GREENWICH, Conn., May 19 (UPI) --A giant anteater at a Connecticut conservation center gave birth even though she had been separated from her mate for several months, zoo officials said.