January 18, 2015 / 2:48 PM / 3 years ago

Anti-Charlie rally in Pakistan draws 5,000

People protest against satirical French weekly newspaper Charlie Hebdo, which featured a cartoon of the Prophet Mohammad as the cover of its first edition since an attack by Islamist gunmen, in Lahore, January 18, 2015. REUTERS/Mani Rana

LAHORE, Pakistan (Reuters) - Around 5,000 people rallied against French magazine Charlie Hebdo in Pakistan’s eastern city of Lahore on Sunday, and the founder of a group banned for militant links urged protesters to boycott French products.

Hafiz Saeed, who founded Lashkar-e-Taiba, an organization banned for launching attacks in neighboring India, told protesters: “We will launch a movement against the insulting caricatures of our beloved prophet.”

French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo published a picture of the Prophet Muhammad weeping on its cover last week after two gunmen stormed its offices and killed 12 people. The gunmen said their attack was revenge for previous cartoons the magazine had published mocking Islam.

Saeed urged traders to stop importing French products and for Pakistani leaders to try to get an international law against blasphemy passed.

Blasphemy is punishable by death in Pakistan.

On Friday, protesters trying to storm the French consulate in the southern city of Karachi shot and injured a photographer working for French news agency AFP.

Saeed called for more rallies next Friday. He says he has no links to militancy these days and only runs a charity, which is banned by the U.S. government for suspected militant links. The U.S. government has offered $10 million for information leading to Saeed’s conviction.

Writing by Katharine Houreld; Editing by Clelia Oziel

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