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Pakistan court declares NATO supply blockade illegal

Islamabad: A court in Pakistan on Tuesday declared as illegal, blockade of supply line for NATO troops in neighbouring Afghanistan by the ruling party.

Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) party, which leads a coalition government in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province, has blocked NATO supply trucks in protest against US drone strikes in the tribal regions.

Activists of PTI and its ally, Jamaat-e-Islami, forcibly stop NATO trucks from entering Afghanistan via the main Torkham border point.

Traders had challenged the blockade in a court on the plea that it has affected their business.

The Peshawar High Court in its verdict on Tuesday declared the blockade illegal and said movement of the vehicles could not be stopped by force, Xinhua reported.

The court ruled that the government should ensure protection of freedom and human rights and said the stopping and checking of vehicles during the protests could not be justified.

PTI chief Imran Khan had started blockade of the NATO supply line in November, forcing the Pentagon to suspend supply from Torkham route.

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

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

PTI had started blockade of NATO trucks after a US spy aircraft killed Pakistani Taliban chief Hakimullah Mehsud Nov 1 and another attack on a religious school Nov 21 that killed six students.

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