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2001-10-30

Militant Pakistanis Block Silk Route to China with Landmines and Take Over a Town: Aconversation with a Secular Anti-War Activist About Peaceful Protest in Pakistan

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The Pakistani government failed to end a standoff with militant protesters in the northern highlands after a day ofnegotiations. Militants continued to blockade of the fabled Silk Road with landmines and boulders.

The Council for the Defense of Afghanistan, which is claiming responsibility for the Silk Road uprising, has givenPresident Musharraf until Nov 7 to end his support for the U.S. war in Afghanistan or face more blockades and riots.The blockade and threat of more stoppages present the biggest threat to President Pervaiz Musharraf since he came outin support of the US-led campaign. The government is moving armored vehicles and reinforcements towards the scene.Meanwhile, thousands of people in the south bewailed the killings of 15 Christians and joined a funeral processionfor the victims of the shootings on Sunday at a church in Behawalpur.

Six masked gunmen took part in the killings, but no group has claimed responsibility. The police say they haddetained more than 100 members of militant groups in raids overnight in southern districts of Punjab Province. ButPakistan is also home to a large non-violent peace movement and civil society organizations.

Guest:

  • Irfan Mufti, national coordinator for the Pakistan NGO forum, program coordinator for the South AsiaPartnership, and member of a Pakistani peace coalition.

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