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Pakistan clashes over Charlie Hebdo cartoon

media captionPakistani police used water cannon at the protest

Pakistani police have clashed with crowds protesting over an image of the Prophet Muhammad published in French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo.

The authorities used tear gas and water cannon to disperse the demonstration, near the French consulate in Karachi.

The protest was part of a nationwide rally called by Jamaat-e-Islami, the country's largest Islamist party.

Charlie Hebdo featured a cartoon of Muhammad this week, a week after gunmen carried out a massacre at its offices.

Twelve people were killed in the Paris attack, carried out by two French Muslims angry over earlier depictions of Muhammad in the magazine.

Journalists injured

On Thursday, Pakistani politicians passed a motion condemning Charlie Hebdo for publishing the latest cartoon.

image copyrightReuters
image captionThe protesters said they wanted to deliver a message to the French consulate
image copyrightReuters
image captionThe authorities were faced with stone-throwing youths
image copyrightEPA
image captionOfficers responded with tear gas to disperse the protesters

Religious leaders openly called for journalists at the magazine to be hanged, and several religious groups called for protests after Friday prayers.

In Karachi, at least three people were injured during the clashes between police and about 200 protesters, who were mostly student activists from Jamaat-e-Islami.

Three people were reportedly hurt in the clashes, though it was not clear how they sustained their injuries.

One of the injured has since been confirmed as Asif Hassan, a photographer for the news agency AFP.

He was shot in the chest but doctors say he is out of danger following surgery.

image copyrightReuters
image captionAsif Hassan (L), a photographer for AFP news agency, was shot and wounded at the protest
image copyrightReuters
image captionPolice were pictured with firearms, but denied using live ammunition
image copyrightAFP
image captionSeveral other Pakistani cities erupted in protest, including Lahore

Pakistan has denied firing bullets at the protesters, claiming the police only fired shots into the air.

The protesters had tried to get inside the French consulate.

Protest leaders said they wanted to hand a written complaint to consulate officials, but were stopped by police near the main entrance.

Witnesses say the police used batons, water cannon, tear gas and shooting in the air to disperse the protesters.

The area is now quiet, and protesters have been forced away from the consulate.

Pakistan also erupted in protests in 2006 over publication by a Danish newspaper of cartoon images of Muhammad.

Related Topics

  • Islamist extremism
  • Pakistan