Sunday September 26, 2021

No compromise on blasphemy laws: PM

May 04, 2021

ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Imran Khan on Monday stressed the government would not compromise on the laws pertaining to the finality of the Prophethood, sources said.

The premier's comments came during a meeting that he chaired comprising senior ministers of the cabinet, Geo News reported. It was stated in response to a resolution passed by the European Parliament a few days ago, calling for a review of Pakistan's GSP Plus status.

The participants, during the meeting, decided to address the reservations of the European Union. It was also unanimously decided that the protection of minorities in the country would be ensured.

The participants, according to sources, said the GSP Plus trade agreement has nothing to with blasphemy laws. The meeting was briefed that Pakistan would face a loss of $3 billion if the GSP Plus status was revoked, sources said.

Last week, the European Parliament had adopted a resolution calling for a review of the GSP Plus status granted to Pakistan, saying that it has been observed that laws (that it said were discriminatory) towards minorities and fundamental rights, were on the rise. The resolution was presented by Renew Europe, a liberal, pro-European political group of the European Parliament. It was adopted with a majority of 681 votes against six.

Responding to the European Parliament's resolution, the Foreign Office had expressed disappointment over the development.

“The discourse in the European Parliament reflects a lack of understanding in the context of blasphemy laws and associated religious sensitivities in Pakistan – and the wider Muslim world. The unwarranted commentary about Pakistan’s judicial system and domestic laws are regrettable,” read a statement by the FO. “Pakistan is a parliamentary democracy with a vibrant civil society, free media and independent judiciary, which remains fully committed to the promotion and protection of human rights for all its citizens without discrimination,” the Foreign Office had added.

The FO had said Pakistan is proud of its minorities who enjoy equal rights and complete protection of fundamental freedoms as enshrined in the Constitution.

Meanwhile, Imran Khan briefed the envoys of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC )on Pakistan’s efforts at the international level to create awareness about Islamophobia and the need to collectively address the phenomenon. The prime minister stressed that Pakistan’s initiatives were aimed at building mutual understanding and promoting inter-faith harmony. On this count, he met Islamabad-based OIC ambassadors to discuss combating Islamophobia and promoting inter-faith harmony. Recalling the two letters addressed by him to the leaders of the Islamic world last year, the prime minister noted that Islamophobic acts fan inter-religious hatred and disharmony among civilisations. The prime minister called for addressing the underlying reasons for the rise in such incidents worldwide. “Falsely equating Islam with radicalism and terrorism is leading to the marginalisation and stigmatisation of Muslims,” he noted.

The prime minister emphasised that the vilification of Islamic precepts and religious personalities, wrongly justified under the garb of the right to freedom of expression or opinion, hurts the sentiments of 1.5 billion Muslims around the world.

The prime minister urged the OIC to work together for making the international community understand the deep-rooted love and reverence of all Muslims for the Holy Prophet (Peace Be Upon Him) and the Holy Quran.

The prime minister also underlined the need for instituting legal safeguards aimed at protecting the sensitivities of all religious groups. He underscored the imperative of OIC’s collective efforts to project the true image of Islam, and its message of peace and tolerance.

The prime minister reaffirmed that Pakistan remained committed to dialogue and cooperation with all members of the international community for promoting universal values of tolerance, mutual respect and peaceful co-existence among all nations and peoples.