Resolution against blasphemous sketches: A call for interfaith harmony

Blasphemous sketches in the name of freedom of expression are continuously publishing In France and hurt the sentiments of millions of Muslims across the world.

The French authorities are being criticized for protests breaking out in several cities across the world, particularly in Pakistan and Turkey after they accused Muslims of separatism and vowed not to stop cartoons depicting the Holy Prophet Muhammad (PBUH).

Protests erupted in Pakistan

On April 12, protests erupted in different cities of Pakistan after the now-banned Tehreek-i-Labbaik Pakistan (TLP) head Saad Hussain Rizvi was arrested by police in Lahore as a “pre-emptive step” ahead of the party’s April 20 deadline to the government.

The deadline pertains to the TLP’s demands in October 2020, a history teacher who had shown blasphemous sketches of the Holy Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) in class was decapitated and his assailant shot dead by French police as they tried to arrest him.

The cartoons were projected onto the facade of a building in one French city and the public showed them at protests across the country in the days that followed the beheading.

Following the murder, President Emmanuel Macron condemned Islamists and declared not to “stop caricatures” depicting the Holy Prophet Muhammad (PBUH).

The TLP is protesting blasphemous caricatures published in France and demanding that the French ambassador be sent home and import of goods from that country banned.  

Muslim leaders including Prime Imran Khan across the world had denounced the French premier’s comments while countrywide protests were held calling for a boycott of French products.

Violent clashes in Punjab

In the past five days, there were violent clashes and riots between police and activists of the banned TLP across the country. At least three policemen and activists of the party had been killed and more than 340 wounded by demonstrators.

An operation was launched against the banned TLP on the instructions of Interior Minister Sheikh Rashid. Today the situation in Rawalpindi was tense. Activists of a banned organization surrounded Sheikh Rashid’s residence Lal Haveli.

TLP banned

The government banned the TLP under the Anti-Terrorism ACT after the federal cabinet has approved the summary seeking the imposition of a ban on the ultra-right-wing.

The summary of the interior ministry seeking a ban on TLP was sent to Prime Minister Imran Khan which was approved and circulated among cabinet members.

The government’s decision to proscribe the TLP will lead to a harsh reaction which it should be prepared for. The past shows that parties that have been banned turned more violent and unleashed ever more damage.

Resolution against blasphemous sketches

The federal government has decided to bring a unanimous resolution today against the publication of blasphemous caricatures.

The matter would be considered in the Business Advisory Committee and a final draft would be prepared with the signatures of the government and opposition members. Later, the resolution will be tabled in the lower house.

Before the committee meeting, all opposition members will be given a briefing. After the passage of the resolution, the lawmakers will be given a limited time period to express their views.

NA Speaker Asad Qaiser has also summoned Interior Minister Sheikh Rashid to give a policy statement on the law and order situation in the country in the wake of the Namoos-e-Risalat matter.

Purpose of the resolution

The resolution will reaffirm that the love for the beloved Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) was beyond any doubt and it was part of ‘our faith and no Muslim can tolerate such horrendous acts.

The House will strongly urge the parliaments and international community to come up with a framework and stop the recurrence of such acts in the future to ensure peaceful co-existence as well as social and interfaith harmony.

Prime Minister Imran Khan also announced that he has launched a campaign at the international level to put a permanent stop to blasphemous acts taking place in the western world.

The Prime Minister said his aim was to band together with the heads of states of Muslim countries and present a strong case of Muslim Ummah on the issue of Islamophobic incidents.

He said the campaign will ensure that people in western countries think twice before making defamatory statements about Holy Prophet (S.A.W.W).

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