Islamabad (Dawn/ANN) - The Pakistani government has announced a national holiday on Friday to protest against an anti-Islam film that has caused an outrage throughout the Muslim world.
The federal cabinet decided to make Friday an official "day of expression of love for the prophet" after discussing the "Innocence of Muslims" movie, which has triggered more than a week of violent protests across the Islamic world, a senior government official said.
The move came after religious parties called for a day of protest on Friday to denounce the film made in the United States.
Interior Minister Rehman Malik, while speaking to media representatives earlier today, said that members of Pakistan People's Party - the main ruling party - would join protestors in their demonstrations.
The head of the Sunni Tehreek religious party on Monday urged people across the country to close their businesses and hold rallies against the film..
Sources said traders and transporters associations in the largest city and commercial hub Karachi had backed the call.
Around 500 protesting lawyers broke through a gate to Islamabad's heavily-guarded diplomatic enclave yesterday, chanting anti-US slogans and castigating the Pakistan government for its "criminal silence" over the film.
The film has fueled outrage across the Muslim world, with more than 30 people have been killed around the world during more than a week of attacks and violent protests linked to the controversial film. Pakistan, Afghanistan and Bangladesh have all blocked access to YouTube, following the video-sharing website's failure to take down the movie.
On Tuesday, over 2,000 protesters chanting anti-US slogans and burning the American flag gathered outside the US mission in Peshawar to vent their fury at the "Innocence of Muslims" film. Furious protestors in Karachi also marched towards the US consulate to protest against the film.
There have been furious protests outside US embassies and other American symbols in at least 20 countries, and the American ambassador to Libya and three other US diplomats in the North African country have been among those killed.