More than 20,000 supporters of a radical Islamic group have staged a peaceful rally in Pakistan against the recent depiction of the Prophet Muhammad in controversial cartoons.

The protesters accused the Pakistani government of being "soft" on the West with regard to the controversy, which was triggered by cartoons first published by a newspaper in Denmark last year.

Friday's rally was led by Hafiz Mohammed Saeed, the leader of Jamaat al-Dawat group. Saeed is the former leader of the Lashkar-e-Taiba Islamic militant group that was outlawed by President Pervez Musharraf four years ago in an effort to curb militancy.

Since then, Saeed has set up the Jamaat al-Dawat group, which mainly preaches Islam, runs seminaries and operates medical centers.

Anti-cartoon protests have largely died down in Pakistan, but Islamic fundamentalists have been using the controversy to whip up anger against President Pervez Musharraf and the United States.

Some information for this report was provided by AP and Reuters.