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Pak summons acting US envoy over anti-Islam film

September 21, 2012 16:43 IST

Pakistan on Friday summoned the acting American envoy to lodge a "strong protest" against an anti-Islam film and demanded that the US government take immediate steps to remove the "blasphemous" video from YouTube.

"The US Charge D'Affaires Ambassador Richard Hoagland was summoned today by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and a strong protest was lodged with him over the blasphemous video posted on YouTube attacking the personage of the Holy Prophet Mohammed," said a statement issued by the Pakistan foreign ministry.

Hoagland was told that the "US Government should immediately take measures to remove the sacrilegious video from YouTube and take action against its author".

The Foreign Office further told Hoagland that the film --Innocence Of Muslims -- amounted to "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 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," the statement said.

The statement quoted Hoagland as reiterating that his government and the US leadership had "strongly condemned the video".

The video "was disgusting and was the act of one aberrant individual", he was quoted as saying.

Hoagland further said that the vast majority of American people have also condemned it.

The Foreign Office summoned the acting US envoy hours after violent protests erupted in cities across Pakistan for the second consecutive day.

Protestors burnt two cinema halls and a chamber of commerce in Peshawar, where an employee of a TV news channel died after being hit by a bullet in police firing.

On Thursday, some 5,000 protestors, including members of hardline groups like the Jamaat-ud-Dawah and Sipah-e-Sahaba, fought running battles with riot police as they tried to storm the diplomatic enclave in Islamabad.

Members of some groups called for the US Embassy inside the enclave to be set on fire.

 A US Embassy advertisement featuring President Barack Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton speaking about America's commitment to respect all religions began airing on Pakistani TV channels on Thursday.

Image: A protestor holds a placard during an anti-US demonstration in Lahore on Thursday

Photograph: Mohsin Raza/Reuters

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