[an error occurred while processing this directive]
BBC News
watch One-Minute World News
Last Updated:  Friday, 21 March, 2003, 17:15 GMT
Anti-war protests in South Asia
Karachi demonstration
The message is clear in this poster in Multan, Pakistan
Protests have been staged across South Asia against the US-led attack on Iraq.

Thousands of Muslims demonstrated in Pakistan, although a strike call by an opposition Islamic alliance brought little response and was later withdrawn.

There were noisy protests in both Indian- and Pakistani-administered Kashmir and in cities across India.

Thousands more demonstrated in Bangladesh, where there were calls for a boycott of American goods.

Don't kill Iraqi children! They didn't kill yours
Kashmiri women protesters
Pakistani opposition leader, Qazi Hussain Ahmed, told the BBC Urdu Service that the Pakistani Government had made insufficient attempts to oppose military action against Iraq.

He described the current United States administration as oppressors.

The alliance also plans to hold a "million-man march" against the war on Sunday, when Pakistan celebrates its National Day.

Flag burning

Anger on the streets of Pakistan was reflected in a number of demonstrations.

"We want the government to give us permission to go to Iraq to fight against the US forces," one protester told hundreds of supporters.

Police fire teargas in Srinagar
Police disrupted a protest by 3,000 Muslims in Srinagar

"This war is an attack on the whole Muslim world," said Islamist leader Ibrahim Khan.

"This is a genocide against humanity."

In the Indian capital, Delhi, police jostled with hundreds of communist party workers who took to the streets to yell anti-US slogans and burn an effigy of US President George W Bush.

In Srinagar, in Indian-administered Kashmir, more than 3,000 Muslims took to the streets after Friday prayers.

The protesters chanted anti-US slogans and set fire to an American flag before police using teargas and batons dispersed them.

There were also other Indian protests:

  • in Bangalore, Muslim demonstrators pelted buses with stones, damaging 15 vehicles
  • in Ahmedabad, thousands of Muslims staged a protest at the main mosque
  • in Andhra Pradesh the state assembly unanimously passed a resolution condemning the attack on Iraq
  • in Calcutta, buses stopped running for half-an-hour in protest at the war

In Pakistani-administered Kashmir, several hundred people took to streets after Friday prayers.

And in the Bangladeshi capital, Dhaka, riot police watched as nearly 1,000 Muslims staged an anti-war rally outside the central mosque.

The mosque's head preacher, Obaidul Haq, called on Gulf nations like Kuwait and Saudi Arabia to oust US military bases.

"All Muslims must unite to resist the evil forces," he said.

Security tightened

India's Defence Minister George Fernandes said the war would have implications for India's security.

"One thing we may have to face is terrorism with much greater intensity than we have experienced," he said.

Pakistan said it deplored Thursday morning's attack.

Foreign Minister Mian Mehmood Kasuri also said Pakistan regretted that Saddam Hussein had not considered all options to save the Iraqi people from death and destruction.

On Thursday the US pulled out all non-essential staff from its embassy in the Pakistani capital, Islamabad.

Security has been tightened around the embassy and American consulates across the country.

Police and special forces have also been deployed around the Australian and British High Commissions and the French embassy.

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites


News Front Page | Africa | Americas | Asia-Pacific | Europe | Middle East | South Asia
UK | Business | Entertainment | Science/Nature | Technology | Health
Have Your Say | In Pictures | Week at a Glance | Country Profiles | In Depth | Programmes
Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific