rediff.com

NewsApp (Free)

Read news as it happens
Download NewsApp

Available on  

Rediff News  All News 
Rediff.com  » News » Pak: 23 killed on 'Love Prophet Day'; anti-US stir rages

Pak: 23 killed on 'Love Prophet Day'; anti-US stir rages

Last updated on: September 22, 2012 15:42 IST

Pak: 23 killed on 'Love Prophet Day'; anti-US stir rages

     Next

Next

Pakistanis on Saturday grappled with the fallout of the violence that engulfed the country during protests against an anti-Islam film, resulting in the death of at least 23 people and destruction of property worth billions of rupees in what is being described by the media as the day of "killer rage".

Violence erupted on Friday during government-sanctioned protests against the film Innocence of Muslims, which has triggered large-scale demonstrations across the Muslim world.

Click NEXT to read further...


Image: A protester throws a teargas canister, which was thrown by the police earlier, during clashes in Lahore
Photographs: Mohsin Raza/Reuters

     Next

Pak: 23 killed on 'Love Prophet Day'; anti-US stir rages

Prev     Next
Prev

Next

Two policemen were among the 17 people who died in Karachi, Pakistan's largest city, while six more were killed in the northwestern city of Peshawar.

Over 200 people were injured, some of them seriously, during protests in Islamabad, Lahore, Peshawar, Karachi and other cities across the country.

Throughout Friday, TV news channels beamed footage of rampaging mobs looting and burning private and public property.


Image: Protesters ride past burning police vehicles during an anti-American protest rally to mark the 'Day of Love' in Karachi
Photographs: Athar Hussain/Reuters

Prev     Next

Pak: 23 killed on 'Love Prophet Day'; anti-US stir rages

Prev     Next
Prev

Next

Protesters torched or vandalised five cinema halls in Karachi, including one that was earlier owned by Pakistan President Asif Ali Zardari's family, three other theatres and the chamber of commerce in Peshawar and countless banks and shops, and looted goods and cash from commercial establishments and ATMs.

The Pakistan People's Party-led government had declared Friday the 'Youm-e-Ishq-e-Rasool' (Love the Prophet Day) in an effort to blunt efforts by hardline religious and extremist groups to incite violent protests against the anti-Islam film but observers said it had gravely miscalculated.


Image: A protester holds a stick as he shouts anti-American slogans in front of a burning cinema during an anti-US protest rally
Photographs: Fayaz Aziz/Reuters

Prev     Next

Pak: 23 killed on 'Love Prophet Day'; anti-US stir rages

Prev     Next
Prev

Next

"The government probably thought it was taking the initiative away from the religious parties but it instead ended up emboldening them," said Omar R Quraishi, editorial pages editor of The Express Tribune, a newspaper based in Karachi, the city which witnessed more death and destruction than other places.

"The protesters must have thought that the government was not going to do anything to them as it had declared a national holiday," Quraishi told PTI.


Image: A protester holds a placard while taking part in an anti-American demonstration during a protest rally in Lahore
Photographs: Mohsin Raza/Reuters

Prev     Next

Pak: 23 killed on 'Love Prophet Day'; anti-US stir rages

Prev     Next
Prev

Next

Quraishi, like many other commentators, believed the government had ceded space on a sensitive issue and allowed radical elements to gain the initiative.

Pakistani dailies highlighted the death and destruction on their front pages.

'Day of reverence or killer rage,' read the headline in the influential Dawn newspaper while The Nation headlined its report 'Total chaos on Day of Love'.

The front page report in the Dawn said, "Friday which was designated by the government to demonstrate love of the Holy Prophet and condemn the anti-Islam video ... was hijacked by our home-grown extremists who turned it into a day of unbridled violence, killings, arson and robbery."


Image: Students shout anti-American slogans during a protest rally in Karachi
Photographs: Athar Hussain/Reuters

Prev     Next

Pak: 23 killed on 'Love Prophet Day'; anti-US stir rages

Prev     Next
Prev

Next

About 25 people have died so far since protests began earlier this week against the anti-Islam film. Apart from the 23 killed on Friday, two had died in Karachi and the country's northwest in recent days.

The government recently blocked YouTube so that people could not access clips from the film.

The foreign office on Friday summoned the acting US ambassador Richard Hoagland to protest against the film and demanded that the US government take steps to have the video removed from YouTube.


Image: A protestor wears a headband during a protest march towards the US consulate in Karachi
Photographs: Akhtar Soomro/Reuters

Prev     Next

Pak: 23 killed on 'Love Prophet Day'; anti-US stir rages

Prev     Next
Prev

Next

The protesters have repeatedly attempted to target the US embassy in Islamabad and consulates in Lahore, Karachi and Peshawar during protests in the past two days.

The demonstrations in Islamabad have largely focussed on the diplomatic enclave, with hundreds of protesters fighting running battles with riot police while trying to march towards the US embassy.

The government has called in the army to guard the diplomatic enclave and stepped up security across the country as the protests are expected to continue.


Image: Protesters hold banners and flags while taking part in an anti-American rally in Karachi
Photographs: Athar Hussain/Reuters

Prev     Next

TOP photo features of the week

Prev     More

Click on MORE to see another set of PHOTO features...



Tags: PHOTO , MORE , TOP

Prev     More
© Copyright 2013 PTI. All rights reserved. Republication or redistribution of PTI content, including by framing or similar means, is expressly prohibited without the prior written consent.