PAKISTAN - NATO'S UNCERTAIN ROUTE TO AFGHANISTAN ==================================== ASIA TIMES July 12, 2012 "*** Pakistan closed NATO's Afghan route in November in retaliation for American airstrikes that killed 24 Pakistani troops. Following months of negotiations, Islamabad finally agreed to reopen the route last week after US Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton apologized for the deaths. Pakistani Interior Minister Rehman Malik had warned banned outfits not to enter Islamabad, saying they would be immediately arrested. However, nobody has been detained by security forces. Critics say Malik's threat merely aimed at proving to the United States and the international community that Pakistan is serious about keeping tabs on banned organizations. Former director general of Inter-Services Intelligence Agency, General Hamid Gul, confirmed a phone interview to Asia Times Online that security forces "wouldn't dare" arrest anyone taking part in the protest, which he said was led by legitimate organizations. Gul was speaking from Gujranwala in Punjab province, where he was leading a section of the long march. ***" A large convoy of vehicles is still streaming towards Islamabad, said Gul. More jihadis will join the sit-in front of Parliament House, and they will not leave unless the government restores its suspension of the NATO supply links, he added. Addressing the rally, religious leaders have said that unless the NATO supply is closed, the protests will turn violent. The DoC has also called for more "long marches" against the NATO supply lines, on July 16-17 from Peshawar to the Torkham border crossing with Afghanistan. Credible sources have confirmed that militants in Balochistan, the Federally Administrative Tribal Areas and in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province have vowed to block and burn any trucks carrying NATO supplies. Religious parties are also making plans to block Peshawar and the road to the Khyber Pass. Officials say that Pakistani intelligence agencies' backing of the banned organizations' protest signals a policy shift away from the US. ***"