Islamabad - Pakistan Tuesday sought apology from the French weekly Charlie Hebdo for publication of blasphemous caricatures that triggered protests by the Muslims all over the world.

Strongly condemning publication of blasphemous caricatures in the magazine, Foreign Office spokesperson Tasneem Aslam said, “We believe that freedom of expression should not be misused as means to attack or hurt public sentiments or religious beliefs.”

In a statement the spokesperson said this is an attempt to divide people and civilizations and emphasised upon the need to promote harmony among people and communities instead of reinforcing stereotypes and making people alienated in their own countries.

Echoing the sentiments of the people of Pakistan, she said the president and the prime minister have strongly condemned the publication, which has caused great offence to Muslims by hurting their sentiments and religious sensibilities all over the world.

Earlier, President Mamnoon Hussain had sent a letter to the French government, condemning the attack on offices of Charlie Hebdo. Twelve people were killed in the attack and is said to be the worst terrorist attack in France in decades. The president said that in an age of globalisation no one should be allowed to commit an act which hurts the sentiments of any group in society. The National Assembly and the Senate foreign relations committees have passed resolutions condemning the blasphemous publication which has hurt the core belief of all Muslims.

The adviser to the prime minister on national security and foreign affairs has written a letter to the OIC secretary general recommending a legal action to seek an apology from the French magazine and joint action by the Ummah to get criminalisation of all acts of Islamophobia.

As protests against French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo continue in several Muslim countries, Saudi-based Organisation of Islamic Cooperation announced on Monday plans to sue the controversial French magazine for publishing sacrilegious caricatures. Secretary General of the organisation Iyad Madani while speaking to reporters in Riyadh said that freedom of speech has its limits and must not offend others. Madani added that caricatures from the ‘survivor issue’ of the magazine have hurt the sentiments of Muslims across the world.

Following an attack on the magazine on January 12, Charlie Hebdo published a caricature of the Holy Prophet (S.A.W) on its cover for its ‘survivor issue.’

“If French laws allow us to take legal procedures against Charlie Hebdo, OIC will not hesitate to prosecute the French magazine.”

On his personal Twitter feed, Madani added: “These cartoons have hurt the sentiments of Muslims across the world.”

“Freedom of speech must not become a hate speech and must not offend others. No sane person, irrespective of doctrine, religion or faith, accepts his beliefs being ridiculed,” he said.

The OIC has 57-member states across North Africa and the Middle East, among others, as well as permanent delegations to the United Nations and the European Union. Madani was nominated to be its secretary general by Saudi Arabia, and elected at the end of 2013.

Madani’s comments come as seething anger fuelled by the publication of blasphemous cartoons by Charlie Hebdo sweeping across the Muslim world.

In Pakistan, publication of blasphemous caricatures led to violent protests by the religious and secular political parties last Friday.

In 2012, 21 people were killed and 229 wounded, mainly in clashes with police, following the publication of previous cartoons by Charlie Hebdo and the broadcast of a US-made anti-Islam film.