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Last Updated: Friday, 3 February 2006, 12:06 GMT
Musharraf in cartoon condemnation
Pakistani protesters burn the Danish flag in Lahore
Pakistani protesters took to the streets in Lahore
Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf has strongly condemned the publication of newspaper cartoons depicting the Prophet Muhammad.

He said such actions would only widen the gap between the West and the Islamic world.

Pakistan's parliament also passed a resolution saying the cartoons had "hurt the faith and feelings of Muslims all over the world".

The cartoons first appeared in a Danish newspaper in September.

Islamic tradition bans depictions of the Prophet and the publication has enraged Muslims worldwide.

President Musharraf said the publication of the cartoons could not be justified in the name of freedom of expression, adding that even moderate Muslims would feel offended by the move.

Earlier, the upper house of parliament unanimously condemned the move.

"This vicious, outrageous and provocative campaign cannot be justified in the name of freedom of expression or of the press," the resolution passed by the Pakistani upper house, the senate, said.

The senators urged the Pakistani government to consider other "economic and political action".

Protests

Noisy protests have taken place in the southern city of Karachi and the capital, Islamabad, against the cartoons.

But the BBC's Zaffar Abbas in Islamabad says a call by hardline Islamic parties for nationwide protests has been largely ignored.

One of the cartoons shows the Prophet wearing a headdress shaped like a bomb, while another shows him saying that paradise is running short of virgins for suicide bombers.

The cartoons originated in Denmark's Jyllands-Posten paper and have been reprinted in newspapers in Germany, Italy, the Netherlands and Spain - all saying they were exercising their right to free speech.

Jyllands-Posten has apologised for causing offence to Muslims, although it maintains it was legal under Danish law to print the cartoons.




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