Three injured as protest against blasphemous caricatures turns violent in Karachi

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Protest rallies also held country-wide in major cities

KARACHI (INP): Demonstrators belonging to Jamaat-e-Islami student wing clashed with police as they tried to march towards the French consulate in Karachi on Friday.

The clash took place near Teen Talwar outside the French consulate. Police fired teargas shells and used water canon to break up the protest staged by

Islami Jamiat Tubla (IJT) against the publication of blasphemous aricatures by satirical French magazine Charlie Hebdo.

At least three people were wounded, including a photo journalist associated with a foreign news agency identified as Asif Hasan, was shot in the chest during the clash. He was rushed to Jinnah Hospital, where he underwent surgery and was now out of danger.

The protestors also broke windows of several vehicles and pelted police with stones. They chanted slogans against the inflammatory cartoons and called for a ban on the magazine. Rangers were called in to control the situation at the consulate which is located in the Bath Island area of the city. At least 20 protestors reportedly have been arrested.

Following the clash, the protesters retreated to ‘teen talwar’ but refused to leave while police blocked access to the consulate.

Later police held a successful dialogue with the protesters after which the crowd disbursed from outside the French Consulate and the area has been cleared. A spokesman for IJT said they will protest outside the Karachi Press Club and hold a news conference to announce their future course of action.

Strict security arrangements were made for country-wide protests announced by religious  parties against the French magazine which published blasphemous caricatures. Protests against the publishing of blasphemous caricatures were held across Punjab including Multan, Faisalabad, Bahawalpur, Lahore and Rahim Yar Khan.

Protesters demanded that action should be taken against those responsible under international law.

Rallies were also held across Sindh including Sukkur, Hyderabad and Jacobabad demanding that Pakistan and other Muslim countries play their role in ensuring that those responsible are held responsible.

In addition to rallies by religious parties, lawyers in central Punjab and northwestern Khyber Pakhtunkhwa provinces also boycotted court proceedings to display their displeasure over the sketches.

The legal fraternity demanded that the federal government should formally lodge a strong protest with France over this publication.

Western countries must not infuriate Muslims with such acts in the name of “freedom of expression,” lawyers said. They also urged other Muslim countries to raise their voices against it.

 

 

INP

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