In response to a resolution passed by the European Parliament, Prime Minister Imran Khan has insisted that the country would not compromise on the laws pertaining to Holy Prophet (Peace Be Upon Him), it emerged on Monday.
The European Parliament a few days ago had called for a review of Pakistan’s GSP Plus status, to which effect the premier had chaired a meeting of senior ministers of the cabinet to discuss the matter.
Reportedly, the GSP Plus trade agreement has nothing to with blasphemy laws. Revocation of this status would result in a loss of approximately $3 billion, the ministers were told.
The participants, during the meeting, decided to address the reservations of the European Union (EU). It was also unanimously decided that the protection of minorities in the country would be ensured.
Pakistan on Friday had said it was disappointed with the adoption of a resolution at the European Parliament on blasphemy laws in the country.
“The discourse in the European Parliament reflects a lack of understanding in the context of blasphemy laws and associated religious sensitivities in Pakistan and in the wider Muslim world,” Foreign Office (FO) Spokesperson Zahid Hafeez Chaudhri had said.
“The unwarranted commentary about Pakistan’s judicial system and domestic laws is regrettable,” he had added.
The spokesperson had said Pakistan, being a parliamentary democracy with a vibrant civil society and free media and independent judiciary, remained fully committed to the promotion and protection of human rights for all its citizens without discrimination.
“We are proud of our minorities, who enjoy equal rights and complete protection of fundamental freedoms as enshrined in the Constitution. Judicial and administrative mechanisms and remedies are in place to guard against any human rights violations,” he had added.
The spokesperson mentioned that Pakistan has played an active role in promoting freedom of religion or belief, tolerance and inter-faith harmony.
At a time of rising Islamophobia and populism, the international community must exhibit a common resolve to fight xenophobia, intolerance and incitement to violence based on religion or belief, and work together to strengthen peaceful co-existence, he had stressed.
The spokesperson had further said Pakistan and the EU have multiple mechanisms in place to discuss entire spectrum of bilateral relations, including a dedicated dialogue on democracy, rule of law, governance and human rights.
“We would continue to remain positively engaged with the EU on all issues of mutual interest,” he had maintained.
Separately, Prime Minister Imran met the Islamabad-based ambassadors of countries belonging to the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) on Monday.
Recalling the two letters addressed by him to the leaders of the Islamic world last year, the prime minister briefed the envoys on Pakistan’s efforts at the international level to create awareness about Islamophobia and the need to collectively address the phenomenon.
He stressed that Pakistan’s initiatives were aimed at building mutual understanding and promoting inter-faith harmony.
Noting 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, he added, was leading to the marginalisation and stigmatisation of Muslims.
PM Imran 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 (PBUH) and the Holy Quran.
He 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.
He 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.