Over 30,000 people descended upon Karachi, Pakistan, to protest against the Mohammed cartoons published in Charlie Hebdo. It was the country’s largest rally against the satirical newspaper, where two gunmen slaughtered twelve people on January 7.
Jamaat-e-Islami (JI), Pakistan’s main Islamic party, organized the protest in the country’s largest and main seaport city. The people shouted “Death to France!” and “Death to the blasphemers!” The leader of the party wants the international community to ban forms of blasphemy.
“This rally demands that Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif immediately call a meeting of all political and religious parties over the publication of these caricatures,” said JI chief Sirajul Haq. “It is time to send a message to France and the rest of the Western world that we stand united against their support of blasphemy on the pretext of freedom of expression.”
Other Pakistan parties supported JI onstage: Pakistan Peoples Party, Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz, Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf, Jamiat-e-Ulema-e-Islam-Fazl, Jamiat-e-Ulema-e-Pakistan, Majlis-e-Wahdat-e-Muslimeen, and Karachi Bar Council.
“In Paris hundreds of thousands of people came onto the streets to support Satan’s agents and in response to that hundreds and thousands of people have come out here on the streets for love of the prophet,” Haq continued.
JI held a rally in Lahore, which is 1000 miles northeast of Karachi, which drew 5,000 people. Hundreds attended a similar rally in Quetta. Over 12,000 people attended a protest organized by the group Jamaat-ud-Dawa (JuD) in Karachi. JuD is connected to militant group Lashkar-e-Taiba, “which India accuses of the 2008 attacks on Mumbai that claimed 166 lives.”