Islamabad, Sep 22 (): Pakistani officials said protests by a group of Pakistanis over the anti-Muslim film on Friday turned violent across Pakistani cities, with police using tear gas, arson and gunfire at the protesters who indulged in throwing stones and setting fire on buildings.
In Karachi, 14 people were killed and another five people were killed in Peshawar, officials said. In addition to those killed, about 200 people were injured as protesters threw stones and started setting fire to vehicles, movie theatres, bank and city’s chamber of commerce. The protesters had a fierce battle with the police, who reacted with gunfire and tear gas.
In Lahore, protesters tumbled over shipping containers that police had used on the road to block entry into the US consulate.
The people were protesting the film in various cities of Pakistan that defames Islam’s Prophet Muhammad. The Pakistani government announced Friday to be a national holiday — “Day of Love for the Prophet” — and asked for only peaceful protests.
Analysts blamed the Pakistani government for encouraging these extremists by declaring a national holiday on Friday. Even if the officials urged for peaceful protests, critics said the decision has caused the worst violence yet caused by the movie, “Innocence of Muslims.”
The film that was made in US has irritated many in Muslim world for the past 10 days as it attracted the viewers’ attention on Internet. A UN official said previous to Friday’s deaths in Pakistan about 30 people had been killed in the violence, including US ambassador to Libya. There were also peaceful protest rallies in half-dozen countries from Middle East to Asia, with some burning effigies of US President Barack Obama and American flags.
The anger has turned towards the US government though the movie was privately produced in US and the American officials have criticized the movie for insulting Muslims.