ISLAMABAD, Pakistan (AP) -- Merchants by the thousands kept shops shuttered across Pakistan on Monday after Muslim leaders called for a national strike against government support of U.S.-led military strikes on Afghanistan.
But compliance with the strike was not universal. Even in cities near the Afghan border where support for the Taliban is high, including Quetta and Peshawar, some shops were seen open.
It was not immediately clear how many businesses that closed did so out of support or because of intimidation by militant Islamic parties.
In Quetta, where thousands of Afghan refugees are located and Islamic groups sympathetic with the Taliban are powerful, the major bazaars and shopping areas were closed. But in other parts of the city, businesses were open.
Many shops and businesses opened on schedule in Peshawar. But groups of demonstrators from religious schools took up position in front of open businesses to enforce the strike, shouting and shaking fists until owners closed.
The entire business district was shuttered in the southern town of Jacobabad, site of large anti-American demonstrations Sunday near Shahbaz Air Base, which U.S. personnel are using.
Some stores were shuttered in Lahore. In Karachi, Pakistan's largest city, many businesses were reported open. Authorities said five demonstrators were wounded there during scattered clashes between authorities and small roving mobs. One man was shot in a similar incident in the northern city of Hyderabad, authorities there said.
Outraged by President Gen. Pervez Musharraf's support of the American-led coalition against terrorism, militant Islamic political parties have been protesting since Oct. 7, when U.S. and British planes began attacking Afghanistan.
Brainerd Dispatch ©2013. All Rights Reserved.