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The federal government had decided to table a resolution in National Assembly regarding the demands of Tehreek-e-Labbaik Pakistan (TLP), including, take up the issue of publication of the blasphemous sketches in the international forum and the expulsion of the French ambassador from Pakistan before April 20.
The decision was taken in a meeting chaired by Prime Minister Imran Khan and attended by Religious Affairs Minister Noorul Haq Qadri, Law Minister Farogh Naseem, Interior Minister Sheikh Rashid, and senior officials.
During the meeting, it was also decided that other parties would be contacted on the issue of the French ambassador and also decided to bring the resolution in parliament before April 20.
The religious party had announced a sit-in in the federal capital to press for its demands. But on February 10, a government team headed by Religious Affairs Minister Qadri assured the TLP that it would seek parliamentary approval on its demands by April 20.
On November 17, the TLP announced that the government had accepted all its four demands. The religious party had released a copy of the handwritten concurrence, carrying signatures of the Religious Affairs Minister, interior minister and the deputy commissioner Islamabad.
According to the accord, the government would take a decision from the parliament regarding the expulsion of the French ambassador within three months, will not appoint its ambassador to France and release all the apprehended activists of the TLP.
The TLP’s demands have not yet been met, with Hafiz Saad Rizvi, the new head of the religious party, stating that if the government does not keep its promise, they will move towards Islamabad between the nights of April 20 and 21.
Let’s take a look at the facts, including the publication of blasphemous sketches and the TLP’s demand for deportation of the French ambassador, and try to find out whether deporting the French ambassador will solve the problem of blasphemous sketches?
French satirical weekly Charlie Hebdo
Charlie Hebdo, a weekly magazine based in the French capital, Paris, regularly publishes cartoons, reports and jokes, with controversial articles against not only Islam but also Christianity, Judaism and culture. The journal was started in 1970 and closed in 1981 for such articles.
Charlie Hebdo has started its services again in 1992, after which a number of controversial articles, cartoons and reports were published.
In 2011 and 2015 attacks were carried out on the publication of blasphemous sketches of the Holy Prophet.
In 2015, Charlie Hebdo said it was republishing hugely controversial sketches of the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) to mark this week’s start of the trial of alleged accomplices to the attack.
Twelve people, including some of France’s most famous cartoonists, were killed on January 7, 2015, when brothers Said and Cherif Kouachi went on a gun rampage at the paper’s offices in Paris.
Tensions increase since the murder of Samuel Paty
Tensions over the reaction of the French government to recent Islamist attacks in the country have been increasing since the murder of teacher Samuel Paty by a Muslim in the northern Paris suburb of Conflans-Sainte-Honorine on October 16.
The attack provoked an outpouring of support in France and a tough response from the government which saw dozens apprehended and numerous organizations and mosques closed in a widespread crackdown on alleged Islamic extremism.
However, comments from President Emmanuel Macron regarding religious rights and freedom of expression and the display of controversial cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) at solidarity rallies following the attack have since prompted allegations of Islamophobia from several Muslim political and religious leaders across the globe.
TLP should reconsider their decisions, demands
The publication of blasphemous sketches is a problem not only in Pakistan but of the entire Muslim Ummah. Muslims do not tolerate the insolence of the Holy Prophet (PBUH) and the desecration of the Holy Quran they always openly speak out against it.
By publishing controversial and offensive sketches and the desecration of the Holy Quran all Muslim countries, including Pakistan, are being pushed towards World War III.
The OIC must address the fact that the whole Muslim world is being condemned for the actions of a few (the Charlie Hebdo attackers) who resort to extremism.
Prime Minister Imran Khan, including the opposition and the entire nation of the country, condemned France over his anti-Muslim attitude.
Undoubtedly, by boycotting French companies, and expulsion of the French ambassadors from their respective countries Muslims can put pressure on France, and send a message to them that Muslims suffer from insults to the Holy Prophet and can do anything for their Prophet.
More important, at the time the country gripped several issues, including the COVID-19 pandemic, economic crises TLP leadership should reconsider their decisions and demands for the sake country’s betterment by avoiding creating problems for the general public.