Hafiz Mohammad Saeed, the founder of the banned Lashkar-e-Tayiba [ Images ], led a rally of about 500 people against the film at Chauburji in Lahore [ Images ]. Saeed, who heads the JuD, said the blasphemous film had been made to hurt the sentiments of Muslims. He demanded that the Pakistan government should summon the US envoy to protest against the film. He also demanded the immediate closure of North Atlantic Treaty Organisation supply routes to Afghanistan, which were recently reopened after a seven-month blockade, to send a strong message to the United States.
The JuD, Jamaat-e-Islami, Sunni Tehrik, Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam and other hardline groups organised protests in Islamabad [ Images ], Rawalpindi and cities across Punjab [ Images ], the country's most populous province.
The Jamaat-e-Islami held a protest outside its headquarters in Mansoora in Lahore. However, the turnout at most places was low and the demonstrations ended peacefully.
The federal and provincial governments beefed up security across the country, especially at US missions, as protests in some Muslim countries have targeted American embassies and diplomats.
The government has already condemned the anti-Islam film, saying it had offended Pakistanis and Muslims around the world.
At several places, protestors demanded severe punishment for the makers of the film and demanded the immediate expulsion of American diplomats. They beat US and Israeli flags with shoes and set them on fire.
In Islamabad, a few hundred protestors gathered outside the Lal Masjid after the Friday prayers and shouted slogans against the film and the US.
Members of the Majlis Wahdatul Muslameen tried to march to the US embassy but were blocked by security personnel.
Protests were also held in Hyderabad, Multan and Swat.