ISLAMABAD: Hundreds of Pakistani activists took to the streets on Friday, chanting death to America, demanding that their leaders resign and setting fire to a US flag over the burning of Qurans in Afghanistan.
Up to 300 people blocked the main Grand Trunk road in Peshawar, stomped on and set fire to the US flag, and kicked the dummy representing America and beat it with sticks while it was burning.
“The ugly face of America has been revealed with the desecration of holy Quran,” a banner read.
In the capital Islamabad, the general secretary of Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam (JUI) told the crowd that the Islamic world should review its relations with the United States.
“We will not allow Americans to ridicule our religion and our holy Quran,”Maulana Abdul Ghafoor Haideri told the crowd, asking the Organisation of Islamic Conference (OIC) to convene a special session to condemn the incident.
In Karachi, hundreds of activists of Jamaat-ud-Dawa, blacklisted as a terror organisation for associations with al Qaeda, chanted “Death to America”.
“There is just one remedy for America —jihad and only jihad,” the crowd shouted. “Death to America, death to America's friends,” echoed slogans.
The demonstrators were carrying flags with black and white stripes and inscribed with Koranic verses.
They also held up banners, one of which said: “The defeated Americans are bound to bite dust in their war against Allah and His Book.”
President Barack Obama was Thursday forced to apologise for the incident, which the Afghan presidency blamed on a US officer at the Bagram airbase.
“We don't accept Obama's apology. The Muslims don't accept his apology, as it is nothing but a farce,” said Naveed Qamar, the head of JuD in Karachi.
“The Americans are deliberately provoking us through shameless sins,” he added.
“It is now up to our rulers whether they continue to be slaves of America or become slaves of our beloved prophet.”