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Thousands rally against U.S. in Pakistani capital


10:20, February 21, 2012

ISLAMABAD, Feb. 20 (Xinhua) -- Thousands of people rallied in the Pakistani capital Islamabad on Monday, protesting against the U.S. policies, strikes by American spy aircraft in the country's tribal regions and the resoration of NATO supplies by the government.

Political and religious leaders lashed out at the U.S. and held it responsible for instability in the region and terrorism in Pakistan.

They asked the government to quit the U.S.-led coalition and to form an independent foreign policy free of American influence.

"Joining the U.S. coalition against the so-called terrorism has in fact promoted terrorism," chief of the hardliner Jamaat-e- Islami, Syed Munawar Hsasin told the huge crowd at the Aabpara Chowk, a busy marketplace in the heart of the capital.

The rally was organized by Pakistan Defence Council (PDC), an amalgamation of nearly 40 religious and political groups.

Several banned radical groups are also part of the PDC, which were barred by the federal government after lawmakers protested against their activities.

Head of the council Maulana Samiul Haq in his speech asked the U.S. to leave the region immediately. He condemned the U.S. drone attacks on Pakistani soil and described the attacks as open violation of the country's sovereignty.

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