Pakistanis rally to denounce India over remarks about Islam

ISLAMABAD (AP) — Thousands of Islamists rallied Thursday and briefly scuffled with police in Pakistan’s capital, urging Muslim countries to cut diplomatic ties with New Delhi over remarks by two officials from India’s ruling party that were derogatory to the Prophet Muhammad.

The scuffles between demonstrators from the Jamaat-e-Islami Pakistan party and police erupted when the protesters tried to march toward the Indian Embassy in Islamabad but were stopped by police. No one was reported hurt in the melee.

Anger has been growing in Pakistan and other Muslim-majority nations since last week, when two spokespeople for India’s Bharatiya Janata Party made comments seen as insulting Islam’s prophet and his wife Aisha. Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s party has suspended one official and expelled the other while saying it denounces insults of religious figures.

In Pakistan, Sirajul Haq, the leader of the Jamaat-e-Islami party, denounced India at the rally on Thursday and asked Islamic countries to boycott Indian products and recall their envoys to show New Delhi that Muslims will never tolerate insults to Islam and its prophet.

Pakistan and India have a history of bitter relations. Since they gained independence from British colonial rule in 1947, the nuclear-armed nations have fought two of their three wars over the disputed Himalayan region of Kashmir, split between them but claimed by both in its entirety.