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Senate adopted resolution condemning blasphemous publication of caricatures in Netherlands

28 August, 2018

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ISLAMABAD: The Upper House of parliament Monday unanimously adopted a resolution condemning the publication of blasphemous caricatures in Netherlands.

Leader of the House Shibli Faraz presented the resolution against the caricature competition scheduled to be held at the end of this year in Netherlands, which has triggered an outrage throughout the Muslim world.

The resolution binds the federal government to lodge a strong protest with the Netherlands and use diplomatic channels to raise the issue at all the international forums. The resolution urges ministry of religious affairs to consult religious scholars for devising an effective strategy on the issue. The resolution also urges the federal government to take up the issue of blasphemous content with the United Nations Security Council. It calls upon the Pakistani government to summon the Dutch envoy and record a strong protest.

The House maintained that the proposed competition is a bid to incite hatred, racial prejudice, unrest, conflict and insecurity in a world that has already seen much bloodshed, racism, extremism, intolerance and Islamophobia and badly needs peace, interfaith harmony, mutual respect and tolerance.

Speaking over the issue, Prime Minister Imran Khan said the government would raise the issue of blasphemous caricature contest at the United Nations in the upcoming General Assembly session besides pushing the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) to evolve consensus to raise a collective voice against such acts.

In his maiden address in the Upper House of parliament, the prime minister said the recurrence of such blasphemous activities to desecrate Holy Prophet Muhammad (Peace Be Upon Him) was the collective failure of the OIC. He said as he knew the western mindset, they would not backtrack from such activities in the name of freedom of expression as majority in the west did not know as how the Holy Prophet (Peace Be Upon Him) was revered among the Muslims. He said the west needed to be realized that how hurtful it was for the Muslims.

The prime minister said anti-Muslim elements in the west had found an easier way to malign and hurt the Muslims by carrying out such acts. He said his government would make efforts to evolve consensus over the issue at the level of the OIC. However, the prime minister reiterated that the Muslim world would first have to unite before making the west realize that Muslims felt hurt by such actions.

Meanwhile, opposition parties in the Senate staged a walkout while demanding formation of a parliamentary commission to probe alleged rigging in the July 25 general elections.

Speaking in the Upper House, Leader of Opposition in Senate Raja Zafarul Haq said the way election was conducted had become an important issue and merely laying of a report by a Senate committee was not enough. The matter is not being probed systematically, he claimed.

Haq said the issue is of grave concern for every Pakistani. He demanded that the matter be brought before a parliamentary commission which should prepare a thorough report and submit its recommendations. After his remarks, the opposition parties staged a walkout.

Earlier, Standing Committee on Interior Chairman Senator Rehman Malik presented a report of the committee on the holding of general elections as well as security situation during the exercise. He said the committee was probing the matter of failure of the Result Transmission System (RTS) and it was told during the proceedings that the RTS never stopped working. He said the committee would look into the issue of slowing down of the RTS so that it could reach a conclusion. He said during the general election, the complaints of non-provision of Form 45 and Form 47 had surfaced and ballot papers were found in heaps of garbage.

The second walkout by the opposition parties was staged when PPP leader Raza Rabbani wanted to speak in response to Imran Khan’s speech but the latter left without listening to his speech. It irritated the entire opposition and they staged a walkout. Later, the opposition pointed out lack of quorum and the deputy chairman was compelled to adjourn the House till Tuesday (today) at 11 am.

Earlier, the House passed “The National Disaster Management (Amendment) Bill, 2017, moved by Senator Ateeq Shaikh. The bill is aimed at amending the National Disaster Management Act, 2010.

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