Islamabad, Sept. 21: Tens of thousands of furious Pakistanis took to streets on Friday throwing stones on police and setting buildings ablaze as they condemned a US-made anti-Islam movie that has sparked violent protests across the world.
The government had announced to observe "Lovers of Prophet" day to express anger over the low-budget movie.
More than 10 people were killed, mostly in northwestern Khyber Pakhtoonkhwa province and the port city of Karachi. Some of the local media put the death toll in clashes between the police and protesters at 14 while more than 80 people were injured.
More than 15,000 people entered the red zone, which houses principal government buildings and foreign missions in Islamabad and turned after police fired live rounds and tear gas shells to disperse them. The police however managed to prevent this crow from moving to the US embassy as all the roads in the capital were blocked through big containers and barbed wires.
The baton-weilding violent protestors also burnt police checkposts and tried to remove containers amid heavy tear gas shelling. The entire area looked more like a battlefield as protesters kept trying to push back the police.
"This is part of my faith to participate in these processions as we cannot tolerate anyone disgracing our prophet," Muhammad Shayan, a young protestor in Islamabad told The Telegraph.
Another protester, Abdul Hakeem said, "Americans must be taught a lesson for repeatedly indulging in blasphemous acts. The government should have allowed protestors to go to the US embassy as
freedom of expression does not mean that these Amricans should make such disgusting and sacreligious movies."
Two cinema houses were torched and ransacked in Peshawar where at least three people were killed. In Karachi, people ransacked shops, banks and petrol pumps as the mob got unruly. Reports put the death toll in Karachi at 11.
Diplomatic missions remained closed in Pakistan on Friday and it was announced that they would re-open on Monday.
In Islamabad, the US Chargé D'Affaires Ambassador Richard Hoagland was summoned today by Ministry of Foreign Affairs and a strong protest was lodged with him over the blasphemous video. He was told that this was an attack on 1.5 billion Muslims and a premeditated and a malicious act to spread hatred and violence among people of different faiths.
He was further conveyed that the US Government should immediately take measures to remove the sacrilegious video from YouTube and take action against its author.
He was reminded that all faiths need to promote inter-religious harmony and tolerance. The intentional spread of hatred among faiths is an attack on humanity itself.
Ambassador Hoagland reiterated his Government position as well that of the US leadership that they strongly condemned the video. The video was disgusting and was act of one aberrant individual. He further stated that vast majority of American people have also condemned it.