Students of various colleges on Thursday staged a massive protest rally in Mingora against Nato airstrikes on two army check posts which resulted in the death of 24 soldiers this week.
Thousands of students holding placards and banners inscribed with slogans against US and allies condemned the attack. Protesters also blocked Saidu Sharif road.
The rallies, beginning from different institutes, convened at Nishak Chowk where student leaders delivered speeches. “We appreciate the steps like suspension of supplies to Isaf and Nato forces, but expect more tangible measures against them,” said the president of the Pakhtun Students Federation, Irfan Bhai. A student of Government College Saidu Sharif, Imran Khan added that though the government’s reaction was appreciated, efforts should be made to eliminate Nato’s presence from the country.
A majority of students maintained that if the government did not assert itself, violations by foreign governments and organisations would continue.
They also criticised the government’s silence on drone attacks, stating that if it failed to adopt a clear stance against the strikes, the situation would deteriorate. Gohar Khan, a participant at the rally said, “Nato forces would not have dared to attack us had the government halted the drone attacks.”
The students resolved to fight side-by-side with the army if the situation warranted it and vowed to “offer sacrifices for our beloved country.”
Published in The Express Tribune, December 2nd, 2011.
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