Islamabad: Pakistani lawmakers passed a resolution and marched outside parliament on Thursday to protest the publication of images of Islam's prophet in the satirical French magazine attacked by extremists last week.
Like many other Muslim nations, Pakistan has condemned last week's deadly rampage at the Paris office of the Charlie Hebdo weekly, which killed 12 people, including editors, cartoonists and two policemen.
But the authorities have also condemned the publication of cartoons depicting the Prophet Muhammad, which many Muslims consider sacrilege.
Religious Affairs Minister Sardar Mohammad Yousuf said the lawmakers unanimously adopted the resolution condemning the publication of the images.
The resolution was mostly symbolic. Yousif did not say how many legislators were present, but he stressed that lawmakers from all political parties backed the measure. The resolution also condemned violence under any pretext.
After the vote a group of lawmakers marched outside parliament, chanting: "In the name of the prophet, we're ready to die."
The minister said the resolution would be sent to all foreign missions in the country and to the United Nations, to register Pakistan's protest against the cartoons, which "hurt our religious sentiments deeply."
Also Thursday, nearly 300 people from a little known Pakistani religious group rallied in the eastern city of Lahore, carrying placards of "Down with Charlie Hebdo" and a banner demanding that those drawing the prophet's caricatures be hanged. The rally started from a main thoroughfare in the heart of the city and culminated outside the U.S. Consulate.
Islam generally forbids depictions of the Prophet Muhammad, and many in Muslim-majority Pakistan view the cartoons as blasphemous.
The magazine has invoked freedom of speech to defend its publications of cartoons that many Muslims and non-Muslims alike consider offensive.
On Tuesday in the northwestern city of Peshawar, a hard-line cleric led a memorial service for the brothers Said and Cherif Kouachi who attacked the satirical paper and praised their assault.
About 40 people attended, with some carrying banners condemning the magazine and chanting praise for the Kouachis.