13 killed, 195 hurt in Pakistan film protests: officials
PESHAWAR, Pakistan - The Associated Press
A Pakistani demonstrator throws a tear gas shell towards riot police during a protest against an anti-Islam film in Islamabad on September 21, 2012. AFP Photo
At least 13 people died and nearly 200 were wounded in Pakistan during violent protests today condemning a US-made film insulting Islam, defying a government call for only peaceful demonstrations, officials said.
Nine people were killed in Karachi, the country's largest city, and four in the northwestern city of Peshawar, hospital officials said.
The combined total of wounded in Karachi, Peshawar and in the capital Islamabad was 195.
Doctor Mohammad Shafqat of Karachi's Jinnah hospital told AFP that it had received four dead bodies and 65 people with injuries, with more wounded arriving.
Doctor Mohammad Ayub at the Civil hospital, said his medics had received five dead bodies, including that of a police officer, and at least 40 injured.
The policeman was killed in an exchange of fire with protesters in Karachi, the country's largest city, police official Mohammad Shakeel said.
Thousands took to the streets in a series of different demonstrations across Karachi, home to an estimated 18 million, to condemn the film, "Innocence of Muslims".
Scuffles broke out when protesters tried to march towards the US consulate, throwing stones at police and trying to remove shipping containers that blocked the road, police said.
Officers fired off tear gas shells and fired into the air to disperse the crowd, but three policemen were wounded by gunfire from an unknown direction, Shakeel said.
In the northwestern city of Peshawar, the Lady Reading Hospital said it had three dead, including a TV station employee who was shot when protesters set alight and ransacked a cinema.
Doctor Farman at Khyber Teaching Hospital, who used only one name, confirmed that another body had been brought in after the demonstrations.
Hospital doctors in Peshawar gave a combined total of 60 people wounded.
Interior Minister Rehman Malik said he had ordered an investigation into the TV station employee's death and repeated government calls for protests to remain peaceful.
ARY, the man's employer, accused the police of murder.
"We consider this incident murder. We strongly condemn it. The policeman involved in the firing incident should be arrested immediately and sacked," said senior ARY executive Owais Tohid.
The channel broadcast disturbing footage of its employee, clearly in a critical condition and receiving urgent medical care in hospital.
Overall, 15 people have been killed in Pakistan during protests over the past week against a trailer for the crudely made film, made by extremist Christians in the United States.