Various political parties and religious organisations held protest demonstrations in Rawalpindi and Islamabad on Friday against the French weekly Charlie Hebdo for publishing caricatures of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH).
Jamaat-e-Islami (JI)’s Rawalpindi chapter and Muslim Students Organisation (MSO) took out a rally from Moti Mosque, Liaqat Road to Fawara Chowk in Raja Bazaar.
The protesters raised slogans against the satirical magazine and burnt tyres on the road.
Maulana Khalid Imran of Ittehad-e-Ulema said “Western powers were fearful of the spread of Islam and were deliberately hurting feelings of all Muslims”.
MSO Rawalpindi President Rana Usman demanded the government raise the issue at the international level and register its protest.
Anjuman-e-Tajran Rawalpindi President Shahid Ghafoor Paracha said trade bodies will observe a one-day strike to protest against publication of the caricatures. The date, he said, would be announced soon. JI Rawalpindi chapter leader Shamsur Rehman Swati demanded the expulsion of the French ambassador from the country and severing of all diplomatic ties with the European country.
Swati added that a Charlie Hebdo reporter had to apologise when it published pictures of the wife of former French president Nicholas Sarkozi. He said offending religious feelings of Muslims in the name of freedom of speech was hypocritical.
In Islamabad, rallies were taken out at various points to ‘condemn the blasphemous’ publications by the French magazine. Moreover, security was tightened around Diplomatic Enclave, where the French Embassy is located. Containers were placed near Murree Road to block access to the high-security zone in fear of protesters reaching the area.
Published in The Express Tribune, January 17th, 2015.
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