Thousands of people rallied in Lahore on Sunday to protest against continued U.S. drone strikes in Pakistan’s northwest.
Around 5,000 protesters chanted anti-U.S. slogans and called for an immediate end to drone strikes at the rally organized by the Defense of Pakistan Council, a coalition of around 40 religious and political parties. They also called for the suspension of NATO supplies for Afghanistan, which are transported through Pakistan.
Council chief Maulana Sami-ul-Haq, in a video address to the rally, claimed Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif had come under U.S. pressure and was not expected to play a positive role in stopping the drone strikes. He appealed to all political parties, religious scholars, and members of civil society to unite against the attacks. Council member Hafiz Saeed, leader of the proscribed Jamat-ud-Dawah, also called for unity against America.
Since 2004, the United States has carried out hundreds of drone attacks on suspected militants linked to Al Qaeda and the Taliban. Hundreds of civilians have died in the attacks, according to various estimates, prompting outrage both in Pakistan and abroad.