ISLAMABAD/PESHAWAR - Former cricketer Imran Khan’s party claimed a ‘tactical success’ Wednesday after the US military suspended shipments of equipment out of Afghanistan via a key Pakistani route, citing protests that posed a risk to truck drivers.
PTI spokeswoman Shirin Mazari hailed the Pentagon’s move as a “tactical success” and said the protests would continue. “The US decision to halt NATO supplies through Torkham doesn’t affect our protest and we will continue our protest until drone strikes are stopped,” she told AFP.
Khan demanded the government block NATO supplies after a US drone strike that killed Pakistani Taliban leader Hakimullah Mehsud but Islamabad has shown no appetite for such a move.
Islamabad signed a deal with the US in July last year allowing NATO convoys to transit Pakistan until the end of 2015, but a spokesman for the interior ministry said they were unable to intervene. “Maintaining law and order is a provincial subject and the provincial government is responsible for security of NATO trucks, we can’t direct them in this regard,” Omer Hameed Khan told AFP.
Meanwhile, activists of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) and its allied parties continued blocking Nato supplies for the 12th consecutive day on Wednesday by staging sit-ins on different routes, however, one of its protest camps on Motorway Interchange was wrapped up as no container is allowed on this way.
Dozens of PTI and JI workers thronged the camps where they stay, check documents of vehicles and stop Nato containers. The PTI office bearers of its various sister organizations constantly visits these camps. The PTI newly nominated provincial general secretary Khalid Masood visited Hayatabad protest camp where he spoke to the media. He said that the sit-ins and protest against US drones would continue until they were stopped. He said that the camp on Motorway Interchange has ended as no Nato container was allowed on that routs and the workers of that camp would now join their colleagues on Hayatabad Toll Plaza where the camp would continue round the clock. Since November 23, the PTI, JI and AJI have blocked Nato containers routes in four districts of the province including Peshawar, Nowshera, Kohat and Dera Ismail Khan. The protestors also attended these protest camps and vowed that these protests and sit-ins would continue until drone strikes are stopped.