"They killed innocent labourers. There were no foreigners or [militant] training centres," witnesses quoted Maulana Tahir, the leader of the rally, as saying.

 

No violence

 

"Pakistani newspapers have carried the sentiments of the government, who said that it carried out the attack, and the sentiments of the people on the street, who believe that the Americans had a hand in this one as well"

Kamal Hyder,
Al Jazeera correspondent in Pakistan

In a separate incident, about 200 college students blocked a road that links Tank with Wana, the main town in southern Waziristan. A police presence was on the streets, and no violence was reported.

 

In the eastern city of Multan at least 60 university students shouted "Death to Bush," and burned an American flag to protest against the air raid.

 

Kamal Hyder, Al Jazeera's correspondent in Pakistan, said that he had received a call from Baitullah Mahsud, the head of the peace committee in southern Waziristan, inviting his team to visit the scene of the raid.

 

"Mahsud said he wanted to invite us to the area to prove to us that [those killed] were innocent civilians," Hyder said.

 

Army line

 

Hyder also said that the Pakistani media was doubtful about the Pakistani army's line on the attack.

 

Although the Pakistani army insists it carried out the raid on the suspected al-Qaeda base, many Pakistani civilians believe the US army had at least a joint role in the attack.

 

"Pakistani newspapers have reacted strongly but have carried both sentiments - the sentiments of the government, who said that it carried out the attack, and the sentiments of the people on the street, who believe that the Americans had a hand in this one as well," Hyder said.

 

Musharraf has made Pakistan a key ally in the US-led "war on terrorism", but has come under pressure from the US to arrest cross-border attacks by Taliban and al-Qaeda militants from its tribal areas into Afghanistan.