Pakistan’s foreign office condemned on Tuesday the decision by French satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo to reprint cartoons of the Prophet Mohammed.
Thousands of people marched in Pakistani cities in 2015 after the weekly magazine first ran the images, deemed by many in the conservative Muslim country to be blasphemous.
“#Pakistan condemns in the strongest terms the decision by the French magazine, Charlie Hebdo, to re-publish deeply offensive caricature of the Holy Prophet Muhammad (PBUH),” the ministry of foreign affairs tweeted.
“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. Such actions undermine the global aspirations for peaceful co-existence as well as social and inter-faith harmony”.
Under Pakistan’s strict blasphemy laws, insulting the prophet can carry the death penalty.
Among those injured during a January 2015 march in Karachi was AFP photographer Asif Hassan, who recovered after being shot in the back.
Protesters at the time shouted slogans including “death to France”, “death to the blasphemers” and “(We are) ready to sacrifice life for Prophet Mohammed”.
Twelve people, including some of France’s most celebrated cartoonists, were killed on January 7, 2015, when brothers Said and Cherif Kouachi went on a gun rampage at the Charlie Hebdo offices in Paris.
The paper said Tuesday it was reprinting the cartoons to mark this week’s start of the trial of alleged accomplices to the attack.