Pakistan Madrassah Protests Non-Stop

Vowing vengeance, thousands of Pakistani tribesmen took to the streets on Friday, November 3, to protest an army air strike on a madrassah (religious school) which killed 80 people.

Pakistan Madrassah Protests Non-Stop

"The people of the tribal areas are being treated like terrorists and innocent people are being killed by the US and Pakistan army," speaker Waheed Gul, the deputy head of the influential Jamaat-e-Islaami, told several thousands of protesters in Khar, just 10 km (six miles) from the destroyed madrassah, reported Reuters.

"We will not tolerate this anymore," he added.

The protestors placed effigies of US President George W. Bush and Pakistan's Pervez Musharraf on mules and led them through Khar, the main town in the Bajaur tribal region bordering Afghanistan.

"We will certainly take revenge on these people" said another speaker, Zahir Shah, with chants of revenge ranging out.

At least 80 people were killed on Monday, October 30, in an army air strike on the Zia-ul-Koran madrassah in Khar.

The Pakistani government said that the attack targeted the madrassah as it was doubled as an Al-Qaeda training camp.

The Pakistani military released video footage shot from a surveillance aircraft showing rows of people doing physical exercises at the place just an hour before the attack.

Locals said that the dead were students and blamed US-led forces in Afghanistan.

"The people of Bajaur are 100 percent convinced that the attack was launched by US forces," tribal elder Akhunzada Chatan told the demonstrators, reported Agence France-Presse (AFP).

Bajaur was the scene of a savage US air strike in January on claims of hunting Al-Qaeda number two Ayman al-Zawahri. The 13 January raid killed at least 18 people, mostly civilians.

Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf said in an interview released in September that the US blackmailed Pakistan by threatening to bomb it "back to the Stone Age" after the 9/11 attacks unless it supported the war on terror.

Shortly after 9/11, Pakistan abandoned its support for the ruling Taliban in Afghanistan and became a front-line ally in Washington's o-called war on terror.

The South Asian country has since deployed around 80,000 troops on the rugged border with Afghanistan to hunt pro-Taliban and Al-Qaeda elements.

Down With America

One boy prays for the madrassah victims of army air strike during anti-government protest in Islamabad. (Reuters)

Nearly 2,000 tribesman also protested in the small town of Enayat Killi in Bajaur, waving assault rifles in the air and chanting anti-government slogan.

Another 2,500 protestors also gathered in Loyisom, a town just north of Khar.

In the eastern city of Lahore, more than 3,000 supporters of the Islamic charity Jamaat-ud-Dawa offered prayers for those killed in Monday's school attack.

Another 3,000 protesters also took to the streets of Karachi shouting "Down with America" and "Down with Musharraf," who escaped two assassination attempts in the past few years.

In the central Pakistani city of Multan some 400 protesters belong to the opposition Pakistan Muslim League of exiled prime minister Nawaz Sharif also burned Bush effigies and American flags, witnesses said.

Protests were also called for in the main northwestern city of Peshawar.

US fast food chain KFC closed for the day and other shops hung banners inscribed with Qur`anic verses over their windows amid fears of rioting.

Rallies have taken place almost every day since the raid on the Pakistani madrassah.

There are around 12,000 madrasahs in Pakistan, often offering free religious education and board for more than one million Pakistani children, especially in areas neglected by state education services.

Pakistan has placed them under close scrutiny in the wake of the 7/7 terrorist attacks in London, carried out by four British Muslims, including three of Pakistani origin.



Güncelleme Tarihi: 20 Eylül 2018, 18:16