Dutch security raised in Pakistan after anti-Islam film: official

04/01/2008

KARACHI (AFP) — Pakistan has stepped up the security of the Dutch consulate and businesses in Karachi fearing protests over the Internet release of an anti-Islam film by a far-right MP, officials said.

Pakistan foreign ministry summoned the ambassador of the Netherlands in Islamabad on Friday and lodged a “strong protest” with him on Geert Wilders’s film defaming Islam.

“We have stepped up the security of Dutch consulate and businesses in Karachi,” Arif Ahmed Khan, the home secretary for Sindh province told AFP Sunday.

“We have advised the consulate staff to keep a low profile and avoid unnecessary travel,” Khan said.

The official said that telecommunication authorities have been asked to block all websites that carry the “blasphemous” film.

Meanwhile at least three different protests were held outside the Karachi Press Club where protesters torched an effigy of Dutch MP Wilders and the Netherlands flag, witnesses said.

Wilders posted the 17-minute film entitled Fitna (discord in Arabic) on the Internet on Thursday. It features violent imagery of the terrorist attacks in New York and Madrid intertwined with Koranic texts.

Last month Pakistan caused an accidental global blackout of YouTube when it blocked the website at home for carrying “blasphemous” cartoons.

At least 17 Danish newspapers last month published the controversial drawing of the Prophet Mohammed, vowing to defend freedom of expression a day after Danish police said they had foiled a plot to murder the cartoonist.

Five people died in Pakistan in February 2006 during violent protests against the cartoons, while a Pakistani cleric offered a reward of one million dollars and a new car for anyone who killed any of the cartoonists.

afp

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