Pakistan has threatened to ban all Penguin books after six people were killed in two days of demonstrations over the publication of Salman Rushdie's novel, "The Satanic Verses."
The novel, already banned in India, Pakistan and South Africa, has been burned publicly by Moslem demonstrators in Britain.Leaders of Pakistan's ruling Pakistan People's Party (PPP) have accused Islamic fundamentalists of using the controversy over the book to mount an assault on the newly formed government of Benazir Bhutto. The protests apparently have been timed to gain maximum publicity when Bhutto was on an official visit to China. She returned to Islamabad Tuesday.
Pakistan has urged Viking-Penguin, publishers of the novel, to withdraw the book from the market, burn all copies publicly and tender a public apology or face a ban on the company in Pakistan.
Fundamentalists have called for a general strike Friday and demonstrations in all major cities. Last month, fundamentalists raised a hue and cry when a pop music program was broadcast on state-run television.