Unified front: PTI, JI intensify protest against drone hits

Published: November 24, 2013
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JI and PTI protesters at the rally on MA Jinnah Road on Sunday. PHOTO: MOHAMMAD SAQIB/EXPRESS

JI and PTI protesters at the rally on MA Jinnah Road on Sunday. PHOTO: MOHAMMAD SAQIB/EXPRESS

KARACHI / HYDERABAD: 

In what could be considered as an escalation in the protest against drone strikes and Nato supply routes through Pakistan, the Jamaat-e Islami (JI) organised a sizeable public gathering on Sunday in the city.

The protest came on the heels of the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf’s (PTI) Peshawar rally on Saturday. Thousands of JI activists and supporters were joined by PTI supporters at Numaish Chowrangi, who then marched for around two kilometres towards Tibet Centre, where JI chief Syed Munawar Hasan and the provincial leadership of both the parties addressed the rally.

On the rally’s route, huge billboards, sponsored by the PTI, displayed shoulder-to-shoulder pictures of the chiefs of the two political parties.

Following the US drone strike that killed Hakimullah Mehsud on November 1 and sabotaged the fledgling peace initiative with militants in addition to the attack in a settled area of Hangu, both the parties had decided to demonstrate their strength against what they termed “infringement of Pakistan’s sovereignty by the US.”

Jamiat Ulema-e-Pakistan Sindh president Sahibzada Abul Khair Muhammad Zubair and Jamaat-ud-Dawa’s senior leader Ameer Hamza also joined the rally.

The energetic gathering, preceded by a mobile stage improvised from a truck, chanted loud and unrestrained slogans against the US and the Pakistan government. A number of protesters held banners, placards and party flags while the participants on the front row held a large banner which read, ‘Drones and Nato supplies are a licence to kill Muslims.’

Hassan said the nation has taken to the streets against internal and external forces bent on destabilising the country.

Hassan specifically mentioned Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and said that t is time for the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) to manifest its will. “They had been claiming that they were against the US interference but now when they are at the helm of power, we see no practical action from their side,” he said.

Hasan said that his party will provide full support to Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa government to stop Nato supply lines, as has been announced by the PTI chief Imran Khan. “It has been our principled stance since the beginning of the US attack on Afghanistan that Pakistan needs not to be allied with the occupying forces by providing them ground routes for logistic supplies.”

PTI’s lawmaker Arif Alvi, while citing the Amnesty International’s recent report, said the US must be held accountable for drone attacks in Pakistan as even independent and global human rights’ groups believe that unlawful killings through drone strikes in northwestern tribal areas could amount to war crimes.

Alvi said that over 40,000 countrymen have lost their lives since Pakistan got involved in the war on terror. “We have a reason to believe that the PML-N government is also obeying the unannounced accords with the US as its leadership that used to term drone strikes illegal now seems to have taken a u-turn,” added Alvi. “The behaviour of the PML-N’s ministers is lamentable who have made mockery of the protests against drone strikes and Nato supply lines.”

PTI supporters also staged a sit-in on Hyderabad Bypass near Hatri. The protesters blocked vehicular movement for over three hours on National Highway.

Led by provincial leader Aslam Rajput, protesters chanted slogans against the US drone strikes in Pakistan.

“We will close the roads and highways in Pakistan from where the Nato supply passes,” said Rajput.

Published in The Express Tribune, November 25th, 2013.

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Reader Comments (17)

  • Wali
    Nov 24, 2013 - 11:36PM

    Well it looks like JI stealing PTI’s show…. I don’t see anything other than a JI protest on the picture from Karachi.

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  • Adnan Siddiqi
    Nov 24, 2013 - 11:41PM

    Enemies of Pakistan from D.C. to London and Tel Aviv are extremely ecstatic right now and toasting to the success of their most valued assets in PTI and JI.

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  • rkfrom ny
    Nov 25, 2013 - 12:29AM

    wow..an aerial shot..looks like this pic was taken by a drone camera..!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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  • Raj - USA
    Nov 25, 2013 - 12:40AM

    @rkfrom ny:
    Excellent comment. Can’t stop laughing at the humor.

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  • unbelievable
    Nov 25, 2013 - 12:45AM

    ‘Drones and Nato supplies are a licence to kill Muslims.’
    .
    Classic anti Western blather which conveniently ignores that Muslim extremist are responsible for killing 40,000 Pakistani’s – and Muslim extremist are the ones waging a war to remove the elected govt of Afghanistan. At times it seems like NATO and the USA are the only ones taking a strong stand against these extremist – certainly not the Pakistan govt or military.

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  • shsh
    Nov 25, 2013 - 1:17AM

    PTI is wasting its opportunity in government.

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  • csmann
    Nov 25, 2013 - 1:21AM

    large banner which read, ‘Drones and Nato supplies are a licence to kill Muslims.’
    And TTP doesn’t even need a license to kill Muslims,and hundreds of times more.

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  • Nabeel
    Nov 25, 2013 - 1:22AM

    Time has come to declare PTI, JI as the political wings of TTP beyond a shadow of doubt.
    It is now or never of we wish to save Pakistan.
    It’s time to mobilise against these forces of evil and enemies of Pakistan.

    Recommend

  • Bakhtiyar Ghazi Khan
    Nov 25, 2013 - 1:45AM

    Long Live Imran Khan, a true Pakistani Patriot.

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  • Gp65
    Nov 25, 2013 - 1:45AM

    @Adnan Siddiqi:
    JI owns the Kashmir jihad and both PTI and JI were well represented in the anti-India DPC. So make your arguments against their stand using logic instead of trying to use anti-India feelings and calling these parties or TTP as Indian agents because that makes very little sense.

    Secondly where Israel is concerned, I very much doubt it has the hatred for Pakistan that you claim it has. It is unlikely Pakistan would have received the amount of American aid it did – especially security for if Israel was as anti-Pakistan as you think.Recommend

  • Ahsan
    Nov 25, 2013 - 2:04AM

    If i knew it before that the only thing PTI would do after coming into the govt will be protests against some drone attacks killing foreigners, i would have never voted for this paarty. I voted and campaigned for PTI that is now no different than anther JI. Political point scoring and stunts! Nothing for the betterment and benefit of the common people of KPK! Alas! I am really disappointed in PTI and IK, I once was a proud supporter.

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  • Anoni
    Nov 25, 2013 - 2:20AM

    Is there any positive out come out of this ? What is see is lost energies and hope again ..People are frustrated that’s why they are on the streets time and again. Pinning on hope

    US does what is in it’s interest.

    Our leader do what’s in their interest .

    Eliminate the corruption in our system i.e May be a faster and just Justice system where there is punishment for white collar crime .. that is in our best interest ..

    THEN perhaps US and PAK interest coincides

    Recommend

  • unbelievable
    Nov 25, 2013 - 2:38AM

    The World is still waiting for the first Pakistani demonstration against the Taliban or Al Qaeda – you know the guys who are responsible for killing 40,000 Pakistanis. One of those “elephant in the room” things that few Pakistani’s can see.

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  • Zargham Hussain
    Nov 25, 2013 - 2:39AM

    Great show by both the PTI and the JI. It’s time to draw a line between patriots, mental slaves ans traitors. We will never forget this phrase: “You are either with us or you are against us.” Listen, fascists! We are against you, and we are against all those who are with you. And we are with YOUR enemy, and we are with all those who take you as an enemy.

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  • Zargham Hussain
    Nov 25, 2013 - 2:48AM

    And you guys at the Tribune, we know your newspaper receives sustenance through the US of A, but you can still display a picture of the complete rally for the sake of journalistic integrity. Such cheap tactics will only serve as a proof of your bias.

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  • Rex Minor
    Nov 25, 2013 - 6:51AM

    Only when people rise to save their dignity and protect their independence, the birth of a Nation is in the offing. This is not the time in history for revolutions nor for leaders of great visions but of those who have the will to lead and the civil courage to act and take the steps which are deemed necessary to resist foreign hegemony and aggression.. Remember the proleteriat has nothing more than the chains to loose. Contractual agreements are made between two independent Countries but can also be terminated in the national interest of unity.

    Rex Minor

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  • Zuhair
    Nov 25, 2013 - 1:00PM

    @Wali: That’s because ET has very cleverly taken the snapshot of the women’s side. It was primarily a JI show supported by PTI and there were a good number of PTI workers non the men’s side. I was there

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