Pakistani capital braces for anti-NATO marchers

Pakistani capital braces for anti-NATO marchers
# 09 July 2012 17:57 (UTC +04:00)
Baku-APA. Thousands of supporters of Pakistani religious and political parties, protesting restoration of supply line for NATO forces in Afghanistan, are scheduled to enter the capital Islamabad late Monday night, APA reports quoting Xinhua.

Organizers said the marchers would gather near the parliament house, located in the highly security "Red Zone" and the government wants the protesters to assemble at a park, few kilometers away from the parliament.

The long march started from the eastern city of Lahore in Punjab province on Sunday and after a night stay on the way, the marchers started the journey towards Islamabad, their last destination.

Addition police force has been deployed in Islamabad with erecting barbed wires at some places to keep the marchers away from the Red Zone, police sources said.

Interior Advisor, Rehman Malik, has advised the shopkeepers to shut business at 4 p.m., hours before the arrival of the marchers to avoid any law and order problem.

The Defence of Pakistan Council (DPC), the amalgamation of religious and political groups, has organized the march to mobilize public opinion against the reopening of supply line for NATO forces.

Pakistan announced reopening of NATO supply line after a nearly seven-month closure over the killing of 24 soldiers in a NATO airstrike last November. The supply line was unblocked following apology by the U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton over the losses of Pakistani security personnel.

Several thousands of activists of major Islamic groups and some political parties are taking part in the march. They spent night at Gujrat, a city between Lahore and Islamabad.

Central leaders of the DPC spoke to public rallies on the way and condemned the government’s decision to reopen NATO supply line.

Interior Advisor, Rehman Malik, said the government will not intervene if the marchers remain peaceful but warned that violators of law will be dealt according to the law. He also said that leaders of the banned groups in the DPC will not be allowed to enter Islamabad.

Chief of the DPC Maulana Samiul Haq told the marchers that the alliance will announce next phase of protest in Islamabad.

DPC spokesman Yahya Mujahid claims that around 25,000 people have joined the march when the event started in Lahore. He said that 3,000 volunteers are performing security duties.