Pakistan today beefed up security outside all foreign consulates here amid calls by rightwing groups for bigger demonstrations on Friday, a day after four persons were injured in violent protests over the publication of an “un-Islamic” cartoon by a French satirical weekly.
Far-right Jamaat-e-Islami (JI) group said it will bring together one million people on the streets on Friday to protest against ‘Charlie Hebdo’, which re-published a controversial sketch on Wednesday after it was attacked by two Islamist gunmen last week that left 12 people dead.
JI chief Sirajul Haq yesterday announced the rally to denounce the publication of Prophet Muhammad’s cartoon, considered un-Islamic by Muslims.
Hafiz Saeed, the chief of Jamaat-ud-Dawa – a wing of the banned Lashkar-e-Taiba which masterminded the 2008 attacks in Mumbai – has announced another protest for tomorrow in Lahore.
In view of the calls given by the rightwing religious groups, police have stepped up security outside all foreign consulates, including the French consulate — the scene of violent protests yesterday in which an AFP photojournalist and three others were injured.
The police have put up containers, erected cement blocks and deployed at least a dozen patrol vans near the consulate.
“These are precautionary measures after what happened (yesterday),” said Sindh Information Minister Sharjeel Memon.
A senior police official said heavy contingent of police and paramilitary rangers have been deployed outside all foreign consulates, including the French, in Karachi.
The photojournalist injured in yesterday’s bloody showdown between JI supporters and police is now recuperating at the Aga Khan University Hospital here, a paramedic told PTI.
During yesterday’s showdown, a bullet struck the 38-year- old photojournalist’s lung and passed through his chest.
The other three injured persons had minor injuries and were allowed to go home after treatment.
Media bodies and journalists condemned the attack on the photojournalist and a cameraman.
“This incident must be investigated quickly and impartially and those responsible for the attack must be punished,” said Federal Union of Journalists in Pakistan.
Religious parties staged protests all over the country yesterday against Charlie Hebdo.
Pakistan has already condemned the sketch and asked various groups protesting in the country to remain peaceful.
Muslims worldwide have protested against the magazine. The deadliest rally was observed in Zinder, the second largest city of Niger, where four people were killed and 45 injured.
The situation, however, was relatively peaceful as compared to protests against ‘Innocence of Muslims’ movie in 2012, during which at least 50 people were killed across the Muslim countries.