Thousands protest in Pakistan over reprinting of Muhammad (PBUH) cartoons in France

Tens of thousands of people across Pakistan protested on Friday against the re-publication of cartoons satirizing the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH)  by French magazine Charlie Hebdo, chanting "Death to France" and demanding a boycott of French products.

Thousands protest in Pakistan over reprinting of Muhammad (PBUH) cartoons in France

Read one of the placards by the protesters, "Blasphemy is a punishment for blasphemy."

The cartoons sent to Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) caused outrage and unrest among Muslims around the world in 2005 when they were first published’ by the Danish newspaper Jyllands-Posten.

Earlier this week, Charlie Hebdo - a satirical weekly, revived cartoons at the start of the trial of suspected comrades in the January 2015 attack on a Paris office by Islamist militants.

A French court heard the case on Wednesday, the first day of the trial. The publication of cartoons was blamed’ for the attack.

Apart from Karachi, the country's largest city, protests were also held in Rawalpindi, Peshawar, Lahore and Dera Ismail Khan by the hardline Islamic Tehreek-e-Libek Pakistan Party.

Protesters paralyze traffic in Karachi, Pakistan's financial and business capital.

"This (reprinting of cartoons) is tantamount to big terrorism. Every few years, they repeat such acts of blasphemy against Muhammad (PBUH). It should be stopped, “said Razi Hussaini, TLP district leader in Karachi.

Similar rallies in Pakistan turned violent in 2015, when several people were injured’ as police tried to march with protesters to the French consulate in Karachi.

The Pakistani government also condemned the reprinting of the cartoons. Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi said that the South Asian country believes in freedom of expression but such freedom does not mean a license to offend religious sentiments.

Charlie HeBdo has long examined what society will accept in the name of free speech.

We will never lie down. Charles Hebdo's editor, Riss Sourisseau explains the decision to republish the cartoons.


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