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ISLAMABAD, Jan 28 Journalists of Rawalpindi and Islamabad took out a procession on Monday to protest President Pervez Musharraf's remarks against a senior journalist at a function in London.

The protesting journalists also held a march on the main road linking the Aabpara Chowk with Melody Market and raised slogans against the president for threatening senior journalist Mohammad Ziauddin. They urged the president to apologise to the journalist community.

The call for the protest rally was given by the Rawalpindi-Islamabad Union of Journalists (RIUJ). Addressing the participants, RIUJ office-bearers and representatives of media organisations termed the president's remarks an 'insult' to the entire journalist community.

They said that family members of Mr Ziauddin faced a serious threat after the remarks made by President Musharraf, adding that the government would be responsible for any harm caused to Mr Ziauddin or a member of his family.

They also asked the British government to take necessary legal action under the British law because President Musharraf had threatened the journalist on its soil.

The Pakistan Federal Union of Journalists (PFUJ) in a statement also demanded an apology from the president. “It is most unfortunate that a head of state has incited people to violence, and that too in a foreign country, against journalists,” the statement said.

It said the PFUJ had been advocating tolerance in the society while the president was preaching intolerance and asking people to resort to violence. “Pakistani journalists do not need a certificate of patriotism from dictators or authoritarian rulers who have no respect for the constitution, judiciary and media,” it said.

The Punjab Union of Journalists issued a statement on Monday criticising the remarks made by the president against Mr Ziauddin.