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Rediff.com  » News » Journalist among 4 injured in anti-Hebdo protest in Pakistan

Journalist among 4 injured in anti-Hebdo protest in Pakistan

January 16, 2015 21:49 IST

A photojournalist of a French news agency was shot at while three others were injured when activists of Pakistan's right-wing Jamaat-e-Islami protesting against satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo on Friday clashed with police when they tried to enter the French consulate in Karachi.

Supporters of religious groups protest against satirical French weekly newspaper Charlie Hebdo, which featured a cartoon of the Prophet Mohammad as the cover of its first edition since an attack by Islamist gunmen, in Peshawar. Photograph: Fayaz Aziz/ Reuters

About 400 protestors from the student wing of the Jamaat-e-Islami were trying to get inside the French consulate but were stopped by police, leading to a showdown with security forces which fired tear gas and bullets in the air.

A photojournalist from French news agency AFP covering the protest rally was caught in the crossfire and received severe gunshot wounds.

Three other persons, including a TV cameraman, were injured by tear gas shells.

Supporters of religious groups protest against satirical French weekly newspaper Charlie Hebdo, which featured a cartoon of the Prophet Mohammad as the cover of its first edition since an attack by Islamist gunmen, in Peshawar. Photograph: Fayaz Aziz/ Reuters

The non-rubber bullet struck the photojournalist's lung, and passed through his chest, said Dr Seemi Jamali, the medico legal officer at Karachi's JinnahHospital where the journalist, Asif Hasan, has been admitted.

"The bullet has been removed and Hasan is out of immediate danger," the doctor said.

Senior police official Ghulam Thebo alleged that Jamaat-e-Islaami activists fired and pelted stones on police when they tried to prevent them from entering the consulate area.

A policeman uses his gun to disperse protesters during a protest against satirical French weekly Charlie Hebdo, which featured a cartoon of the Prophet Mohammad as the cover of its first edition since an attack by Islamist gunmen, in Karachi. Photograph: Akhtar Soomro/ Reuters

"The consulate is located in BathIsland which is in the red zone and the protesters were told to remain peaceful but some of them turned violent and opened fire in which the injuries took place," he said.

He said 25 protestors have been detained.

However, the head of the Jamiaat-e-Tulba claimed that the activists were holding a peaceful rally but police provoked them and started indiscriminate firing.

"We were holding a peaceful rally and a three-member delegation was preparing to go inside and present a memorandum to the French consulate officials when police started firing," Umar Saeed said in a press conference.

Asif Hassan, a photographer of French news agency Agence France-Press, shot during a protest against satirical French weekly Charlie Hebdo, which featured a cartoon of the Prophet Mohammad as the cover of its first edition since an attack by Islamist gunmen, is helped by a fellow photographer in Karachi. Photograph: Akhtar Soomro/ Reuters

Thousands of religious party activists, including followers of Jamaat-ud-Dawa, a wing of the banned Lashkar-e-Tayiba which masterminded attacks on Mumbai in 2008, on Friday observed a black day and held nationwide protest after Friday prayers against the satirical magazine which republished cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad, considered as un-Islamic by Muslims.

The satirical weekly published the contents on Wednesday after an attack on its office in Paris by two gunmen last week in which 12 people were killed.  

Protesters in the northwest city of Peshawar and central Multan burnt French flags on the streets while rallies were held in the capital Islamabad and Lahore.

Addressing a rally in Lahore, JuD chief Hafiz Saeed condemned the publication of cartoons and announced to hold another protest rally on Sunday for which he invited all religious and political parties.

People hold signs as they chant slogans during a protest against satirical French weekly newspaper Charlie Hebdo, which featured a cartoon of the Prophet Mohammad as the cover of its first edition since an attack by Islamist gunmen. Photograph: Mohsin Raza/ Reuters

The rallies came a day after Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif led parliament in condemning the cartoons in Charlie Hebdo.

The government has taken security measures to keep the protesters within limits of law.

Similar rallies and protests in Karachi in September 2012 against an anti-Islam film called by religious parties had led to widespread arson and violence in which 18 people, including three policemen were killed.

Meanwhile, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif expressed concern over injury to the AFP journalist.

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