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Thousands Hold Anti-US Rally in Pakistan

More than 10,000 people have held an anti-US demonstration in northwestern Pakistan to protest civilian killings by non-UN-sanctioned US drone attacks.

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The Pakistani public sees the drone attacks as a breach of national sovereignty. (AFP)

More than 10,000
people have held an anti-US demonstration in northwestern Pakistan to
protest civilian killings by non-UN-sanctioned US drone attacks.


The Sunday protest comes while at least 13 people lost their lives
in three separate drone strikes in the North Waziristan region.

Activists from the country's largest Islamic party Jamaat-i-Islami
organized the rally in the northwestern city of Peshawar. Protesters
blocked a main road and staged a six-hour vigil in front of the
provincial parliament.

A demonstration with a similar agenda was held in Miranshah on Friday.

North Waziristan and other tribal regions in northwestern Pakistan
have been frequently targeted by US drones over the past few years.

In 2010, unauthorized US air strikes doubled with 124 drone attacks claiming nearly 1,200 lives.

Washington claims its air raids target militants, who cross the
Pakistani border into Afghanistan. But locals say civilians are the main
victims of the non-UN-sanctioned attacks.

According to Pakistani sources, the drone attacks kill almost 50
civilians for every militant they target -- giving it a hit rate of two
percent.

The aerial raids, initiated by former US President George W. Bush, have escalated under President Barack Obama.

The surge in unauthorized US drone attacks in Pakistan and NATO
operations along the border has drawn criticism from Pakistani
officials, who consider the unauthorized strikes counter-productive and a
violation of the country's sovereignty.

The issue of civilian casualties has fueled anti-American sentiments in Pakistan and strained Islamabad-Washington relations.

The United Nations says the US-operated drone strikes in Pakistan are a growing challenge to the international rule of law.

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