Asia

Pakistan protesters block Nato supply route

  • 26 November 2013
  • From the section Asia
Activists of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaaf (PTI) arrive to attend a protest rally in Peshawar on November 23, 2013.
Image caption There have been regular protests against the continuation of US drone strikes in Pakistan

Pakistani activists have blocked the main supply route for provisions destined for Nato troops in Afghanistan to protest against US drone strikes.

Opposition politician Imran Khan called for the action and said it would continue until American drone attacks in north-west Pakistan came to an end.

He blames the drones for causing civilian deaths and for crushing any chance of peace with the Taliban.

But the timing of the campaign has led many to accuse him of appeasement.

It comes almost a month after Pakistani Taliban chief Hakimullah Mehsud was killed in a drone strike at a compound in North Waziristan.

He had given some indications he might be prepared to talk but his death reportedly came just a day before a team of mediators was due to meet him.

His successor Mullah Fazlullah - a militant with a savage reputation - appears to have rejected any peace initiative.

This blockade is centred on a road in Pakistan's north-western Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province, which is used to ferry goods to and from Afghanistan and has been building since the weekend.

The BBC's Aleem Maqbool in Peshawar says that protesters have taken the law into their own hands deciding who can pass and go on to Afghanistan, and who can't.

They have been harassing truck drivers and turning back vehicles carrying Nato provisions.

Pakistan says it is committed to allowing supplies through, but as yet has done nothing to stop the vigilante action, which is causing such huge disruption, our correspondent reports.

There are two crossings in Pakistan used to take Nato troop supplies to and from Afghanistan - the other crossing in south-west Balochistan province has not been affected by a blockade.