A convoy of thousands protesting against illegal US drone assassinations was turned back by Pakistan's army today as it approached South Waziristan.
The motorcade was led by former cricketer Imran Khan and the political party he has set up, the Movement for Justice. It set off on Saturday from Islamabad and had been due to end up in Kotkai, South Waziristan, today.
Mr Khan said the army had told him that it was too late to enter the province, which was "dangerous at night."
The protesters were accompanied by over 30 US anti-war activists from Code Pink and Pakistani authorities do not usually permit foreigners to enter tribal zones.
Mr Khan turned the convoy around and it halted in the city of Tank, nine miles from the border.
He said that the journey had been a success despite failing to reach its destination.
"We have taken the voice of the people of Waziristan to the world," he said. "We want to give a message to America that the more you carry out drone attacks the more people will hate you."
The crowds waved banners reading: "The friend of America is the traitor of the nation" and chanted: "We want peace."
Drone strikes conducted by the CIA are a major source of tension between Pakistan and the US. Islamabad maintains that a majority of their victims are civilians, rather than militants as Washington claims, and the the tactic is illegal under international law.
But many Pakistani opposition groups say the government colludes with the US over the programme and provides information on where to strike.
Mr Khan argues that the campaign is counterproductive and that militant activity in Pakistan would disappear if the US ended its occupation of Afghanistan to the north.
Along the route thousands had turned out to cheer the convoy on - though officials in South Waziristan were less keen, noting that it would be "a major security operation and we can't provide that security."
The Taliban had threatened to attack the demonstration with suicide bombers, calling Mr Khan "a slave of the West" and asserting that people in the region did not need "any sympathy from such a secular and liberal person."
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