ISLAMABAD, Pakistan (AP) _ A growing number of Pakistanis are demanding that their orthodox Islamic government recall the country's 5,000 soldiers from the multinational force arrayed against Iraq in Saudi Arabia.

Increasingly, Pakistanis are condemning U.S. involvement in the Persian Gulf and are praising Saddam Hussein for his unrelenting efforts to link his occupation of Kuwait to the Israeli occupation of the West Bank and Gaza Strip.

President Bush has refused to discuss any linkage between the 5-month-old crisis over Kuwait and the Palestinian question.

''The thirst for Saddam's blood is but a logical sequence to ... the ongoing brutal and inhuman repression in occupied Palestine,'' said the Muslim, the country's largest selling English-language newspaper, in an editorial.

Pakistani authorities had been worried about joining the international troop mobilization in Saudi Arabia, largely because of growing anti-American sentiment at home.

Fearing that an offer of troops would be seen as a concession to Washington, Islamabad waited for a personally delivered request from Saudia Arabia before promising in September to deploy soldiers. It wasn't until a week ago that the last troops left.

Both the civilian and military leadership have been vehement in their assertion that Pakistan's soldiers are in the kingdom solely to defend the shrines in Mecca and Medina, Islam's holiest cities.

But many Pakistanis, including several Cabinet ministers, aren't convinced and they want their troops recalled.

During a recent session of the National Assembly, Satar Niazi, an Islamic fundamentalist and social affairs minister, blasted his government's decision to send troops to the gulf and demanded an immediate withdrawal.

In a strident speech to the powerful policy-making lower house of Parliament, Niazi also blasted the United Nations, calling it ''an organization of hypocrites ... formed to bring peace to the world, (instead) it has sanctioned American aggression against Iraq.''

A second National Assembly member, Mohammaed Khan Shirani, demanded a return of Pakistani troops and a united drive by Muslim countries ''to force American troops from Saudi Arabia.''

The more orthodox and powerful members of Pakistan's government appear to be leading the drive for a troop withdrawal.

In the past several weeks, demonstrations have been held in the capital over Pakistan's involvement in the gulf and the deployment of U.S. troops there.

The government has been careful to disavow any links with U.S. soldiers, saying Pakistan's troops were under the command of the Saudis and not the Americans.

Anti-American rhetoric has dominated Pakistan's English-and-Urdu-language newspapers since Washington suspended a $573 million economic and military assistance program on Oct. 1 over suspicions about Pakistan's nuclear program.

It is widely believed that Pakistan and India possess the capability to build a nuclear weapon. India tested a nuclear device in 1974, and Pakistan is believed to have acquired a tested design from China, a close ally.

While routinely denying it has an atomic bomb, Islamabad has made it clear that its nuclear program is none of Washington's business.