Several thousand Pakistanis rallied in the city of Islamabad today at the behest of the religious opposition party Jamaat-e Islami (JI). The rally, which took place near parliament, demanded the government several all ties with the US and put an end to American drone strikes in North Waziristan.
The leaders of the protest also condemned the Zardari government’s inability to tackle inflation and corruption and said cables released by WikiLeaks proved the unreliability of the Zardari government, likely referring to the president’s admission to US officials in one of the cables that he was planning to “tie up” the reinstatement of banned judges.
JI, who organized the protest, also came up in a WikiLeaks cable, when the FBI mistakenly identified the leader to the Jamiat Ulema-e Islam (JUI) as the head of JI, and the State Department told the FBI not to make such allegations against JUI leaders because they are on better terms with the US than JI is.
The protest involved a sit-in for most of the day, and a follow-up protest is planned for the major Pakistani city of Peshawar in the near future. Peshawar has seen large numbers of refugees following US-mandated offensives in the tribal areas, and may well be the larger protest.