Pakistan protests with Dutch govt over blasphemous caricature contest

Islamabad: Pakistan has lodged a strong protest with the Netherlands over a Dutch politician’s announcement of holding a competition of blasphemous caricatures. “The charge d’affaires of the Kingdom of the Netherlands was summoned to the Foreign Office on Monday and a strong protest was lodged on the announcement by the leader of the Dutch Freedom Party and Parliamentarian, Geert Wilders, to hold a competition of blasphemous caricatures,” according to a statement issued by the Foreign Office. “Deep concern was conveyed at this deliberate and malicious attempt to defame Islam,” it said.

The federal cabinet, in its today’s meeting, also strongly condemned this abominable and reprehensible plan. “Pakistan’s ambassador in The Hague has been instructed to forcefully raise the issue with the Dutch government along with ambassadors of OIC member states,” the Foreign Office said.

It added that Pakistan’s permanent representatives to the United Nations in New York and Geneva have also been directed to take up the matter with the UN secretary general, UN high commissioner for human rights and other UN-related bodies and procedures.

The former foreign minister had written to the OIC secretary general seeking his leadership in this matter, who in turn has written to the Dutch foreign minister on behalf of the bloc, protesting against this abominable event.

The matter would also be discussed in the forthcoming meeting of the OIC’s Council of Foreign Ministers, scheduled to be held on the sidelines of the 73rd session of the UN General Assembly in September. Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi will lead the Pakistan delegation to this meeting and raise the issue of blasphemous caricatures.

The government would continue to vigorously pursue the matter with the Dutch government and raise it at the relevant international fora for preventing this abhorrent act from taking place.

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