Nato supplies halted ahead of PTI protest

Pakistan suspended delivery of supplies Saturday to Nato troops in Afghanistan via its land border for three days as campaigners began a sit-in on the supply route over US drone attacks.

Supporters of Imran Khan’s Tehreek-e-Insaf party were gathering on the Peshawar Ring Road on Saturday for the planned two-day sit-in aiming to block the route used by supply trucks.

The party called the demonstration to protest over US missile attacks from unmanned aircraft in Pakistan’s tribal areas, which many feel infringe on Pakistani sovereignty and which locals say sometimes kill civilians.

“They (the US) are losing the war ‑ they can never win it,” Khan told a gathering in Akora Khattak on his way to the protest site in the Bagh-e-Naran neighbourhood.

“The sit-in will start today and will end tomorrow,” he added.

The administration in Peshawar said the Nato trucking service had been halted for three days, and the vehicles ordered to park in other cities on the route from Friday.

Organisers said they expected more than 20,000 people to gather locally for the protest, and many more to arrive in the caravan accompanying Imran Khan.

Banners on Peshawar’s main road bore the message “Stop drone attacks on innocent tribal people,” and images of crossed-out drone aircraft, while posters of Khan and his party dotted the city.