Islamists demand Pakistan abandon alliance with US

The US has been asking Pakistan to launch a major ground offensive in North Waziristan.

Islamabad: Thousands of Pakistani Islamists on Sunday rallied in Islamabad amid tight security demanding the government immediately abandon its unpopular alliance with the United States.

Around 3,000 people shouted "Allahu Akbar" (God is greater) in the rally organised by the radical Jammat-i-Islami (JI) outfit near parliament house.

"The time has come for our rulers and policy makers to tell America `no more` and the whole nation should become part of the `Go America Go` movement," said a declaration.

"We are holding this rally to register our protest against government`s alliance with the US, increasing inflation, unemployment and social injustice in the country,"
JI chief Syed Munawar Hassan said.

He warned that any military operation in the lawless North Waziristan tribal region would trigger a new wave of terrorism in the country.

The US has been asking Pakistan to launch a major ground offensive in North Waziristan, a hub of Taliban and al Qaeda militants on the Afghan border.

But Islamabad says its military will first consolidate gains against militants in other tribal regions and the northwest.

The US considers Pakistan`s tribal belt an al Qaeda headquarters and the most dangerous place on Earth and wants Islamabad to act decisively against militants.

People of all ages arrived in the capital on buses, in cars, auto rickshaws, motorbikes and bicycles to attend the rally, as armed policemen and bearded party activists tightly
guarded the protest.

"We want the government to halt military operations in the northwest and the tribal regions," Hassan said.

A covert US drone campaign in Pakistan has stepped up strikes in the tribal belt, claiming that these attacks have been helpful in taking out important Taliban and al Qaeda members.