ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Imran Khan announced that he will lead an international campaign against the blasphemous campaign that was run in the West. He said violence will inflict severe damage to Pakistan.

The comments came while PM Imran Khan addressed the nation on Monday after last week saw the banned Tehreek-e-Labaik Pakistan’s (TLP) protest and riots around the country over blasphemy against the Islamic prophet in European countries. The events last week left four policemen martyred and more than 800 injured. 

“The protests and violence will do no harm to the West, but inflict severe damage to our people,” the prime minister said. Prime Minister Imran Khan said Indian WhatsApp groups spread fake news about Pakistan. “Indian WhatsApp groups spread the message that civil war started in Pakistan,” he said in his address to the nation. He said during the last few days four policemen killed and 800 were injured.

Prime Minister Imran Khan has said severing ties with France will damage Pakistan’s relations with European Union (EU) which will also damage the country’s economy and export.

The PM said his aim was to present a strong case of Muslim Ummah on the issue of Islamophobic incidents in collaboration with the heads of the Muslim states. He said his government has already highlighted the issue at the forums of the United Nations and the European Union, adding the said campaign will hopefully bring a change. He said the blasphemous acts against Holy Prophet (PBUH) hurt the sentiments of the Muslims. 

“The events that took place last week were saddening therefore i decided to address the issue myself,” the premier began, “Pakistan was founded on the basis of Islam and the Prophet (PBUH) is in the hearts of all muslims. However, one party showed as if they love the prophet more than anybody else.” 

The Premier sided with the TLP, saying that the government and the TLP have the same motives. The comment came after ministers of the federal government last week criticised the TLP as challenging the writ of the state. “I assure you that TLP and our government have the same motives. We don’t want anybody to degrade our Prophet anywhere in the world. The difference [between TLP and the government] is of the approaches either have,” he said 

“TLP says the french ambassador to Pakistan should be expelled. Their motive is that the prophets’ sanctity should be respected everywhere, our motive is the same. today i want to talk about the approach my government has. I have lived in the West and understand how they think.”

“Around the 1990s, Salman Rushdie wrote a book and degraded the Prophet, people took to the roads, citizens died and an Embassy was attacked, but nothing changed. After every couple of years the pattern repeats; they disrespect the prophet, we have strikes and riots here but this has not made any difference. TLP still has the same approach. Sending french ambassador back, would it guarantee that all of this would stop?” the PM questioned. 

“If we send the French ambassador back then some EU country can do the same to ours. EU countries think of this from the angle of freedom of speech. Other EU countries will do the same and will we cut ties with all of them? But Muslims understand that this is about disrespect to our religion, not just freedom of speech. But why is it that no other Muslim country is demanding the same thing,” the PM said. 

The premier further elaborated that it would make no difference to France if Pakistan sends back the French ambassador, however it would be detrimental to Pakistan. “After a long time Pakistan’s industry is growing, we are exporting and the Rupee is strengthening. Half of our textile exports go to the EU and textile is our biggest industry. This means loss of jobs, rising inflation, weakening Rupee, unemployment and more poverty. Pakistanis will suffer if we do this.” 

“Earlier protests were adverse to the country, our enemies also jumped in with propaganda against us,” said the premier, “380 Indian groups were peddling fake news via WhatsApp. And we analysed more than 400,000 tweets, 70% of which were from fake accounts. This harms Pakistan. 4 policemen lost their lives, over 800 are injured, 40 police vehicles have been burnt.”

He concluded by outlining his approach towards tackling the issue while highlighting that he had raised the issue of Islamophobia and blasphemy on OIC and at the UNGA on multiple occasions. “We must collectively come together as the Muslim world and sensitize Europe at international forums. They do not understand the kind of love we hold for the prophet, they do not hold religion as important in their life as we do. We will collectively as the Muslim world do this,” the Premier concluded.


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