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Blasphemous caricatures issue in France: Pakistan registers strongest protest

Top Story

October 27, 2020

Blasphemous caricatures issue in France: Pakistan registers strongest protest

ISLAMABAD: The Senate and the National Assembly Monday moved unanimous resolutions, strongly condemning the latest attempt of illegal and Islamophobic acts of republication of blasphemous sketches of the Holy Prophet (SAW) in France under the garb of freedom of expression.

A resolution, moved by the Leader of the House Dr Shahzad Waseem, said such condemnable acts supported by the government further accentuated discord, alienation and divide among the followers of different faiths.

The resolution reaffirmed that the love for the beloved Prophet (SAW) was beyond any doubt and it was part of ‘our faith and no Muslim can tolerate such horrendous acts’. The House strongly urged the parliaments and international community to come up with a framework and stop recurrence of such acts in future to ensure peaceful co-existence as well as social and interfaith harmony.

Minster for Religious Affairs and Inter-faith Harmony Noor-Ul-Haq Qadri said the resolution reflected the sentiments of all Muslims. He said the French president demonstrated an irresponsible and criminal behavior. He said Prime minister Imran Khan and President of Turkey Recep Tayyip Erdogan had openly criticised the French president.

Legislators on both sides of the divide called for expulsion of French ambassador and boycott of French products until their president apologised to the Muslim Ummah. Some senators said the French president needed treatment while others proposed moving the European court against this act. They also called on the Government of Pakistan take practical measures to stop this trend forever.

France was condemned for adopting double standards with regard to the freedom of expression and cited the example of Holocaust. Lawmakers urged the UN bodies to take notice of this act.

PPP parliamentary leader in the House Senator Sherry Rehman moved a resolution to express solidarity with the people of Indian Occupied Jammu and Kashmir, which was unanimously adopted.

The resolution says, “The Senate of Pakistan, expressing full solidarity with the popular, spontaneous, indigenous and widespread uprising of the heroic people of Indian Occupied Jammu and Kashmir terms October 27 a ‘Black Day’ in the history of the Kashmiri people since it was on October 27, 1947 that the Indian troops landed in Srinagar and forcibly occupied Jammu and Kashmir.

“The Senate of Pakistan taking note of successive UN Security Council Resolutions in this regard, resolutely rejects the Indian occupation of Kashmir, which is the root cause of the Kashmir problem for the last 73 years. This brutal Indian occupation based on falsehood, fear and force, is primarily responsible for the miserable plight of the struggling Kashmiri children, women and men who have been forced to remain part of India under the diktat of bullets, bayonets and bombs. India has falsified and forged a document which it terms an ‘Instrument of Accession’ and this forgery has been unmasked by respected international historians since it is used to justify and defend the indefensible,” it says.

The resolution resolves that on this occasion the Senate of Pakistan wishes to reaffirm complete and unconditional support of Pakistan and its people to the just cause of the inalienable right of self-determination of the people of Indian Occupied Jammu and Kashmir, in accordance with the UN Security Council Resolutions that seek a plebiscite under UN auspices to ascertain the wishes of the Kashmiri people regarding their future.

“Moreover, the Senate strongly condemns the Modi regime in India for following policies based on bigotry and Islamophobia that seek to divide society and promote discrimination against the people of Jammu and Kashmir on the basis of their ethnicity and religion.

The Senate of Pakistan condemns the illegal attempts at annexation of Indian Occupied Jammu and Kashmir and the illegal attempts to change the demography and also thanks all those countries, international organisations and freedom-loving people for their support and sympathy for the Kashmir cause, which will continue its valiant struggle until victory,” it says.

The resolution carried the signatures of Senator Sherry Rehman, Senator Dr. Shahzad Waseem, Senator Syed Muzaffar Hussain Shah, Senator Sirajul Haq, Senator Mian Muhammad Ateeq Shaikh, Senator Usman Khan Kakar, Senator Mushahid Hussain Sayed, and Senator Sitara Imran.

The National Assembly resolution strongly condemned the republication of blasphemous sketches of the Holy Prophet (SAW) in France and desecration of the Holy Quran in Denmark and Sweden.

The resolution, signed by representatives of all the parties in the House, called upon the Government of Pakistan to recall its envoy from Paris and ask all the OIC member countries to boycott French products.

Through the resolution moved by Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi, the government was urged to work within the OIC for designating 15th of March as the international day to combat Islamophobia.

The resolution also called upon the OIC secretary general to continue to monitor the phenomenon of Islamophobia and take necessary actions for presenting Islamic countries’ common position on the matter especially the issue of blasphemous caricatures and desecration of the Holy Quran.

The resolution also asked all non-OIC countries to review anti-Muslim discriminatory policies and to refrain from practices that fanned intolerance, discrimination, hatred or associated Islam with terror or extremism and ban unlawful provocations.

The resolution also called upon all non-OIC countries to provide legal avenues to Muslims residing in their territories for redressal of their genuine grievances.

The House also called upon the UN Secretary General and the UN Commission for Human Rights to immediately initiate a global dialogue inter-faith harmony and the countering of Islamophobia. It deplored equating Islam and Muslims with terrorism which went against the international consensus and spirit of mutual respect and peaceful co-existence.

The House also expressed serious concern over the highly disturbing statements and hate-mongering, especially by leaders like President Macron, justifying unlawful provocation and insult to sentiments of more than billion Muslims through such hate-driven acts under the garb of freedom of expression.

It also recognized with serious concern Islamophobia had taken many forms including the denigration of the Holy Prophet (SAW), desecration of the Holy Quran, negative profiling by the security agencies, killing of innocent people by cow vigilantes, attack on women for wearing hijabs, ban minarets, negative propaganda and disinformation campaigns by some media groups, manifestos of far-right and ne-fascist parties that call for expulsion of Muslims.

The resolution also strongly condemned all acts of terror or violence in the name of any belief or religion.

Meanwhile, the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Assembly Monday unanimously passed a resolution condemning the publication of blasphemous sketches of the Holy Prophet (SAW) in France followed by an anti-Islam speech by French President Emmanuel Macron.

The joint resolution, moved by Sumera Shams of PTI and Rehana Ismail of MMA, said protection of sanctity of the Holy Prophet (SAW) was part of Muslim faith and it could not be compromised.

It said the publication of blasphemous sketches and blasphemy of the Holy Prophet (SAW) by the western countries from time to time was causing resentment, anger and anguish in the Muslim world. It noted that the European Supreme Court had already denounced the publication of sketches and declared it against the freedom of expression as it hurt the sentiments of other faiths.

The assembly recommended the federal government to launch an organize movement at the international platforms, including the United Nations, to condemn and denounce such acts. It also recommended that there should be an affective legislation at the international level to stop the publication of blasphemous material and caricatures once and for all.

The House welcomed Prime Minister Imran Khan’s letter to the founder of Facebook regarding anti-Islam materials on the social media platform and unanimously demanded a ban on anti-Islam hatred materials.

Meantime, the Foreign Office summoned the French ambassador on Monday to convey deep concerns over the recent systematic republication of blasphemous sketches of the Holy Prophet (SAW) and French President Emmanuel Macron’s anti-Islam speech.

It was underscored that such illegal and Islamophobic acts hurt the sentiments of Muslims across the world, including those in Pakistan. Furthermore, such actions could not be justified in the name of freedom of expression.

“Pakistan strongly condemned equating Islam with terrorism, for narrow electoral and political gains. Such provocative statements and actions are fanning inter-religious hatred, hostility and confrontation thereby imperiling efforts of peace and harmony among various segments of society,” the FO said in a statement.

It was reiterated that the freedom of expression should not be misused as means to attack or hurt public sentiments or religious beliefs and fan inter-religious hatred, hostility and confrontation.

The ambassador was told that such actions and statements would further divide peoples and civilizations and undermine global aspirations for peaceful co-existence as well as social and inter-faith harmony.

“At a time of rising racism, intolerance and populism, there is a need to promote harmony among peoples and communities instead of reinforcing stereotypes and making people alienated”.