The Pakistan Sunni Tehreek (PST) and the Jamiat-e-Ulema-e-Islam-Fazl on Friday held anti-France rallies in different parts of Karachi to protest against French President Emmanuel Macronâs act of defending the publication of blasphemous cartoons that hurt sentiments of Muslims, while the Tehreek-e-Labbaik Pakistan has announced organising âa massive protestâ today (Saturday).
The protesters, in the two rallies on Friday, were seen carrying banners inscribed with different slogans, including one that read: âWe will sacrifice everything for upholding the sanctity of Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him).â
The PST started its anti-France rally from Numaish Chorangi in which a large number of the partyâs supporters were present. PST chief Sawat Ijaz Qadri led the rally, while protesters burned effigies of Franceâs leader and chanted anti-French slogans.
PST leaders, in their speeches, demanded a complete boycott of all French products as well as urged the government to call back Pakistanâs foreign mission in France and ask the French ambassador in Islamabad to leave the country.
âPromoting hate against any religion or community isnât freedom of speech,â Qadri said. He asked the government to sever diplomatic ties with France and âtake legal action against all French interests in Pakistan, including its companies and productsâ. Other leaders who spoke to the rally included Mufti Tajuddin Naeemi, Allama Ghazanfar Shah and Allama Ashraf Gormani.
On the other hand, the JUI-F held its protest outside the Karachi Press Club to condemn the publication of blasphemous sketches in France and demand of the government to take âsolid action in this regardâ. The partyâs Sindh leaders, including Dr Rashid Mehmood Soomro, Maulana Abdul Karim Abid and Aslam Ghouri, spoke to the protesters.
The speakers said Pakistan should immediately convene a conference of the Islamic countries to give a befitting response to France. They said provocative activities and hate speeches against Islam were not freedom of expression.
âPublishing blasphemous caricatures in France caused serious unrest among Muslims. The sketches were published to create hatred on the basis of religion,â said Soomro.
The TLP is set to show its strength today by holding a rally to condemn the French presidentâs remarks. TLP chief Allam Khadim Hussain Rizvi will lead the rally that will start from the Star Gate (airport) and culminate at Shahrah-e-Quaideen.