NATO supply line in Pakistan opened up

Islamabad, Feb 27: The ruling party in northwest Pakistan Thursday decided to unblock supplies to NATO troops in neighbouring Afghanistan days after a court ruled the blockade was illegal.

The Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI), which leads a coalition government in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province, blockaded the NATO supply line to protest US drone strikes in Pakistan’s northwest tribal regions.

Cricketer-turned politician Imran Khan, who heads the PTI, announced the blockade of the NATO supply line in November, forcing the Pentagon to suspend supply through the Torkham border point on Pakistan-Afghanistan border.

Pakistani traders challenged the blockade in the court on the plea that it had affected their business with Afghanistan.

The court ruled that the stopping and checking of vehicles during the protests could not be justified.

The top leadership of PTI met Thursday in Islamabad and decided to end the blockade in line with the verdict by the Peshawar High Court Tuesday, Xinua reported.

Officials say that nearly 70 percent of the supplies for NATO troops in Afghanistan are transported via Pakistan, the shortest and cheapest route.

The route is also very important for the US and its NATO allies to withdraw heavy weapons from Afghanistan.

The PTI supporters started blockade of NATO trucks after a US drone attack killed the Pakistani Taliban chief Hakimullah Mehsud Nov 1.

IANS