But the scenes of turmoil seen on Friday spared nothing and no one, making it a day of anger and violence, instead of protest. There was hardly any area of the country that did not boil up with intense clashes between police and the protestors, which have left several dead. Major cities which were calm in the morning, after Friday prayers turned to battlegrounds after protesters emerged in droves. Initially, what were organised rallies, took on the character of vandalism, when the rallies started running into barriers and containers. The riot police standing along the roads to maintain order were offered serious resistance and indeed the police are to be pitied for the meagre protection they had from harm at the hand of the emotional mobs they were facing and charged with keeping orderly. Not only were the containers toppled and other roadblocks pushed aside, the police too had to respond with caution and in many places simply had to abandon the scene, given the fury. Demonstrations turned fierce in Peshawar where four people were killed, one of them a staffer of a private TV channel. A member of a religious organisation in Lahore leaped from a tower in an attempt to commit suicide and was taken to the hospital. The main thrust of the anger was pointed at US consulates, and even cinemas and posters of international film stars. In Karachi five cinemas, two banks and police vehicles were set ablaze stirring violence that claimed 15 lives.
Only a few places were spared the unrest, owing to a handful of leaders of religious and political parties exhorting people to cool off. Imran Khan, for instance gave words to the popular feeling that the western countries should form laws to curb deliberate religious hatred and incitement. In the maelstrom, came demands for the American Ambassador to be evicted, while Senator Kerry in his meeting with FM Khar said, "We feel it (the film) is without any legitimacy, any potential redeeming quality. It is an insult to everybody." More or less, the same were the scenes in a number of Muslim countries from Bangladesh, Malaysia, Thailand to many others where millions were seen marching on the streets. Many of the protestors shouting, “our patience is running out” at the top of their voices bore testimony to the grim case of a clash of civilisations that seems not far from becoming a reality in the face of ongoing events. But saner voices are also being heard. UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon has come down hard on the movie’s director saying that he abused his right to freedom of expression, an ample warning for the so-called liberals who are unmindful of the definition of an individual’s right to speak his mind and where this freedom borders on antagonism. President Obama too has condemned the act unequivocally; a move that many would think was prompted by the rising tide of resentment in the US.
The international community has an obligation to see to it that hate-mongers like Terry Jones and others of his ilk are suitably restrained. Prime Minister Ashraf has issued a suggestion to the UN to frame laws that could prevent acts of hate-crimes towards religious principles. With a large part of the world, and Muslim countries in particular simmering with unrest on an unprecedented scale, those who tend to cause more ill-will among the civilisations, on both sides of the fray, would have to be marginalised.