Tuesday, 21 February 2012

Massive Anti-US Pakistanis rally against US operations in Islamabad

Angry Pakistanis stage a massive anti-US protest rally in the capital Islamabad to condemn a US military operation in Pakistan purportedly intended to kill al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden.

The protest, organized by Pakistan's main religious party, the Jama'at-e-Islami, censured the US for keeping Pakistani officials in the dark regarding the operation in Abbottabad, a Press TV correspondent reported on Sunday.

The angry protesters said the US military operations against bin Laden's compound north of Islamabad as well as the non-UN-sanctioned drone attacks on Pakistani tribal regions violate the country's sovereignty.

The Pakistani government has also come under fire over its unawareness of bin Laden's whereabouts and many opposition parties have demanded that the country's leaders step down.

“President must resign. Chief of army must be terminated and prime minister must resign and the nation must unite to defeat such events,” Jama'at-e-Islami member Mian Ramzan said during the demonstration.

Chairman of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf Party Imran Khan said, “As long as a government is considered a high gun of the US, getting money every month, salaries to fight someone else's war, it completely diminishes its capability to fight terrorism. Pakistan really needs to change forces. It needs to have a credible government.”

Meanwhile, the Pakistani Foreign Ministry expressed in a statement its deep concerns about the manner in which the US “carried out the operation without prior information and authorization from the government of Pakistan.”

US President Barack Obama claimed that bin Laden was killed by US forces on May 1 in a hiding compound in Pakistan, resisting while unarmed.

He added that the military mission was conducted without the knowledge of Pakistani authorities due to US mistrust of their purported South Asian ally.

Former officials with Pakistan's military and intelligence service say the US wrongfully claims it has killed bin Laden in Pakistan as part of a scheme to invade the country for harboring the terrorist leader.

The US has also rejected growing arguments that the US military effort against bin Laden in Pakistan was illegal, describing the operation as “an act of national self-defense.”

Unauthorized US drone attacks in Pakistan serve as another key factor in the climbing anti-American sentiments among the Pakistani people.

US officials say the attacks target militants. However, majority of its victims have been civilians.

CIA director Leon Panetta recently declared that the US has no intention of halting the aerial attacks.

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