Pakistan lawmakers condemn Charlie Hebdo's latest Prophet Muhammad cartoon

ISLAMABAD (AFP) - Pakistan's parliament on Thursday condemned French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo for printing a cartoon of the Prophet Muhammad, describing it as "blasphemous" and criticising Western media for reprinting the caricature.

After passing the resolution lawmakers and parliament employees marched on Constitution Avenue raising placards bearing slogans including "Allahu Akbar" and "We are ready to serve of Prophet Muhammad".

The parliamentary resolution comes a week after the government officially condemned the murder of 12 people at the offices of the satirical weekly on January 7 in Paris as a "brutal terror attack".

The magazine this week published a "survivors" issue featuring an image of the prophet weeping, which sold out Wednesday before more copies of an eventual print run of five million hit newsstands in France.

"This house strongly condemns (the) printing and reprinting of the blasphemous caricatures... and also takes serious note of the continued trend of their reproduction in numerous other newspapers and magazines of other Western capitals," the resolution said.

"This house genuinely believes that freedom of expression should not be misused as a means to attack or hurt public sentiments and religious beliefs," it added.

Insulting the prophet carries the death penalty under Pakistan's blasphemy laws.

Rights groups say the laws are mainly used to persecute minorities and wage personal vendettas.

Mobs often take matters into their own hands and lynch those accused of blasphemy, and such killers are widely feted.

Federal Minister for Religious Affairs Sardar Yousuf of the ruling PML-N party told reporters outside parliament that all Pakistanis condemned the cartoon and saw it as "a conspiracy against Islam hatched through Western media".

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