Pakistan being the breeding ground of potential terror recruits became evident with fresh protests against the re-publication of cartoons of Prophet Muhammad by Charlie Hebdo magazine and anti-Shia protests in Karachi.
According to a report by Roland Jacquard, Chairman of Roland Jacquard Global Security Consulting (RJGSC), published in Global Watch Analysis, the Charlie Hebdo magazine had re-published the cartoons of Prophet Muhammad on September 2, which was the trial date of the January 2015 terror attack at the Charlie Hebdo office and the Hyper Cacher of Porte de Bagnolet in Paris.
Upon the re-publication of cartoons of Prophet Muhammad by Charlie Hebdo magazine on September 2, Iran and Organisation of Islamic Cooperation issued strong statements condemning the move. Even Al Qaeda had issued a veiled threat to the magazine, warning the 2015 attack was not a “one-off”. However, the majority of protests were seen in Pakistan.
Jacquard said that the strongest and most virulent backlash against France was witnessed in Pakistan, where radical Islamist groups took to the streets to protest, calling for the expulsion of the French Ambassador Marc Barety and suspension of diplomatic ties with France.
The protests led by Tehreek-e-Labbaik Pakistan (TLP), a radical political party established in 2015, were held in various cities like Islamabad, Multan and Karachi, with the French flag being burnt across the country. Along with this, the party also ran a hateful social media campaign “calling for jihad against those committing blasphemy”.
Besides, Maulana Abdul Waseh, head of the Islamist group Jamaat Ulema e Islami Baluchistan, had called the publication of cartoons a blatant act of terrorism. Similarly, Tahafuz-e-Khatm-e-Nabuwat Conference called the makers of the ‘blasphemous caricatures’ as the biggest terrorists.
Jacquard quoted Pakistan’s Foreign Office’s statement as saying, “Such a deliberate act to offend the sentiments of billions of Muslims cannot be justified as an exercise in press freedom or freedom of expression.”
This comes after a recent rally in Karachi wherein thousands of people participated in a massive anti-Shia demonstration, sparking fears that it could lead to a fresh round of sectarian violence in Pakistan.
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