HUNDREDS took to the streets of Pakistan’s city of Quetta to pay homage to Osama bin Laden, chanting death to America and setting fire to a US flag, witnesses and organisers said.
Angry participants belonging to a religious party in Quetta, the capital of southwestern province Baluchistan, were led by federal lawmaker Maulawi Asmatullah. They also torched a US flag before dispersing peacefully.
It was the first rally in Pakistan after the US announced that bin Laden had been killed in an overnight commando mission in Pakistan.
Organisers said between 1,000 and 1,200 people attended the rally, but witnesses put the figure closer to 800.
“Bin Laden was the hero of the Muslim world and after his martyrdom he has won the title of great mujahed (Muslim fighter),” Asmatullah said.
“His martyrdom will not end the movement. It will continue and thousands more bin Ladens will be born,” he said.
The marchers also chanted slogans in favour of the Taliban and its supreme leader Mullah Omar who have been fighting across the border in Afghanistan since US-led troops invaded after the militia refused to give up bin Laden.
“Today’s operation shows the US has no respect for international borders and they can violate international laws any time,” he added.
Baluchistan, bordering Iran and Afghanistan is wracked by an insurgency waged by ethnic Baluch tribes seeking greater autonomy from the government and a greater share of profits from the region’s wealth of oil and gas resources.
The region has also been hit by attacks blamed on Taliban militants.