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Thousands protest over school airstrike
Cat : Terrorism
Date : 2006-11-04 13:04:14                      Reader : 269
whether students or Alqaeda . Other capital issue is whether US participated in airstrike or not !! All is necessary to calm the people.


Google News 4/11/2006

Thousands protest over school airstrike


Thousands of angry tribesmen and Islamists protested today across Pakistan against an airstrike that killed 80 people at a religious school near the Afghan border this week, as state TV aired video footage purportedly showing militants in training there before the attack.

More than 5,000 people rallied in the Bajur tribal region, scene of Monday’s airstrike that destroyed a madrassa, or Islamic seminary, run by a Pakistani cleric with alleged ties to al-Qaida number two leader Ayman al-Zawahri. They demanded government compensation for relatives of the dead.

Religious hard-liners gathered in other key cities across Pakistan, railing against America and key anti-terror ally, president Gen. Pervez Musharraf.

Bajur residents and Islamic parties claim the strike was launched by US drones and that the victims were either religious students or teachers.

Pakistan and the US military have denied American involvement. Islamabad says the 80 dead were militants being trained to fight in neighbouring Afghanistan where US forces are based, and that Pakistani army helicopters fired the missiles that killed them.

“We reject the government claim that America is not behind this attack,” tribal leader Akhwanzada Chitan told protesters who gathered near the town of Khar, where shops were shuttered and public transport stayed off the roads. He urged the government to apologise for killing “innocent people” and to pay compensation to their families.

Thousands of ethnic Pashtuns rallied in the southern city of Karachi, the border town of Chaman and the north-western city of Peshawar. Hundreds more people demonstrated in the cities of Lahore, Quetta, Islamabad and Multan, where women in shawls staged a protest. One carried a placard reading, “Bush + Mush, Killers of Muslims”.

Most of the demonstrators were supporters of the Mutahida Majlis-e-Amal, a hard-line Islamic coalition. Since the attack, tribesmen in Bajur have threatened to launch suicide attacks on Pakistani forces, but today’s protests were peaceful.


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