In Pakistan, 30 000 protest against US

2011-12-18 22:29

Islamabad - More than 30 000 Islamists rallied against the US in the Pakistani city of Lahore on Sunday, demanding Islamabad cut ties with Washington following Nato airstrikes last month that killed 24 Pakistani soldiers.

The protest highlighted the ability of hard-liners to bring their supporters into the streets, as well as the lasting anger over the November 26 attack, which has complicated US efforts to enlist Pakistan's co-operation on the Afghan war.

The US has expressed its condolences for the airstrikes and has promised to carry out a full investigation. The response has done little to calm anger in Pakistan's military, which has claimed the attack was deliberate.

"All agreements [with the US] should be terminated," Hafiz Saeed, the head of the group that organised the protest, Jamaat-ud-Dawa, told the crowd. "We say all agreements terminated the day the attack happened."

Jamaat-ud-Dawa is widely considered to be the front group for Lashkar-e-Taiba, a militant organisation that was started with help from the Pakistani government to fight archenemy India, but has been officially banned under international pressure.

Lashkar-e-Taiba is blamed for the 2008 attacks in Mumbai that killed 166 people.

India has demanded Pakistan crack down on the group, but Islamabad has shown little willingness to go after Lashkar-e-Taiba or Jamaat-ud-Dawa.

Pakistan's alleged tolerance for Islamist militant groups has been one of the main sources of tension with the US.

Read more on:    pakistan  |  us

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