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Disrespecting others' religion is not 'freedom of speech': Ch Nisar

Updated January 17, 2015


Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan addressing a press conference in Islamabad. — DawnNews screengrab
Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan addressing a press conference in Islamabad. — DawnNews screengrab

ISLAMABAD: Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan condemned French magazine Charlie Hebdo for publishing offensive cartoons depicting Prophet Muhammad (Peace Be Upon Him) and said "people who in the name of freedom are spreading hate are no better than terrorists".

Nisar was addressing a press conference in Islamabad on Saturday. "The resolution [adopted by the National Assembly] condemned their so-called freedom of disrespecting Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) and Islam," he said.

Read: NA adopts resolution against blasphemous Charlie Hebdo cartoons

Nisar said that Pope Francis has also condemned Charlie Hebdo for publishing those caricatures. "If religious beliefs of others are not given respect then it will only promote terrorism.

"People of Paris should have protested against the cartoons the same way they protested against the attack on Charlie Hebdo," he added.

Speaking on the government's plan to counter the scourge of extremism and implementation of the National Action Plan, the interior minister said that it's time for every citizen to play his or her part for the country.

"We all can play our part on an individual level," he said. "Everyone should be clear that it will be a much longer war ... this war will not be limited to just one or two attacks."

"We cannot even of think of attacking children, we just want to defend our country," Nisar said, stressing on the point that the government's action would be solely against terrorists.

"We want to make this country a land of peace. We want to live by the teachings of our Prophet Muhammad (PBUH)," he said.

Nisar said that all parties are on the same page and that representatives of madressahs were also a part of the National Action Plan.

He admitted that the 21st Constitutional Amendment has resulted in a rift among the political parties, but was quick to mention that both the Jamiat Ulema-i-Islam Fazl (JUI-F) and Jamaat-i-Islami (JI), were in complete support of the National Action Plan.

"We will try to erase their reservations regarding the 21st Constitutional Amendment as well," he added, clarifying that the parties' reservations pertain to "technicalities".

Nisar told reporters that it has also been agreed upon that no madressah will be targeted without evidence. "I repeat it again that more than 90 per cent of the madressahs are not involved in any kind of suspicious or terrorist activity," the interior minister said.

Nisar said that all religious leaders have assured the government that they stand with the people of Pakistan in the country's war against terrorism.