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Thousands of Pakistanis rally against US drone strikes-Nine-mile convoy led by Imran Khan

Associated Press in Islamabad
guardian.co.uk, Sunday 7 October 2012
Pakistani politician and former cricketer Imran Khan leads thousands of activists on a march to South Waziristan Thousands of Pakistanis, joined by US anti-war activists, have headed toward Pakistan's volatile tribal region to protest against American drone strikes despite threats from the Taliban.

The demonstrators, headed by former cricketer turned politician Imran Khan, say the strikes violate Pakistani sovereignty and kill civilians.

The rally is heading into a part of the country where the Pakistani military has been battling a violent Taliban uprising. The motorcade started from Islamabad on Saturday morning and, after an overnight stay in the city of Dera Ismail Khan, departed for the tribal belt. Local officials said the convoy would not be allowed to reach its destination in South Waziristan because of security concerns.

In a televised speech before the convoy got under way on Sunday morning, Khan thanked his supporters.

"We have achieved the goal of this march. Our message of peace has reached the world. I am thankful especially to the American group that came a long way here to join this protest against drone attacks," he said.

Thousands turned out on the road outside Dera Ismail Khan to cheer on Khan and the convoy of supporters and accompanying media, which stretched to a length of nine miles. Supporters packed into vehicles waved flags for Khan's political group and chanted: "We want peace."


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