KARACHI: The Sindh Assembly on Wednesday adopted unanimously a resolution condemning a recent incident in Norway in which a group attempted to burn a copy of the Holy Quran, asking the federal government to expel the Norwegian envoy from Pakistan.
The resolution was drafted and moved by lawmakers belonging to all parties in the house, as they said there were no differences among them when it came to the issue involving the sanctity of Quran.
The resolution reads: “The desecration of Holy Quran in Norway is a matter of hurting the sentiments of all Muslims. Such an act symbolises intolerance, terrorism and extremism on the part of those who were involved in this wicked activity.”
The house vehemently condemned the incident in the Scandinavian country.
Lawmakers ask people to boycott Norwegian products
“[This house] demands the Government of Pakistan to expel the ambassador of Norway and immediately take appropriate measures to register its protest with the Norwegian government,” the resolution added.
Religious Affairs Minister Nasir Shah said what hurt the sentiments of Muslims more was the fact that the Norwegian government reportedly supported those who were involved in the incident.
“The Muslims in Norway agitated against this act, but their protest went unheard,” he said.
He demanded the federal government to register appropriate reaction and protest against such incidents, which had become a routine in the Western countries.
He, however, appreciated the majority Christian population in Norway for banning the entry of such anti-Islam people in their churches.
He also requested Speaker Agha Siraj Durrani to write a letter to the Norwegian authorities to record the protest on behalf of the people of Sindh.
MPAs want people to boycott Norwegian products
Pakistan Peoples Party’s Anthony Naveed said people who belonged to any faith would never accept such incidents.
He said the provincial legislature undisputedly condemned such actions, while adding that everything manufactured in, or having signature of, Norway, should be boycotted.
Mohammad Shabbir of the PTI said Islam was not against any other faith, yet extremists in Europe disrespected Islam.
He said Islam never allowed desecration of other faiths and sacred scriptures.
He also demanded the provincial government and lawmakers belonging to all parties to boycott Norwegian products.
Muttahida Qaumi Movement-Pakistan’s Mangla Sharma said anyone truly committed to one’s faith could never harm those belonging to diverse religions.
She said all Pakistanis irrespective of their faiths stood with majority Muslims and supported the resolution.
PTI’s Saeed Ahmed referred to videos that surfaced on social media showing a Muslim youth jumping over a fence and kicking the person burning the holy book. He appreciated the youth and termed him a hero of Islam.
He said the life of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) was full of love and compassion for all humankind.
He said certain individuals and groups in Europe had picked an opportunity for blasphemy and desecration of Islam and Quran on the pretext of freedom of expression.
He also called for a boycott of Norwegian products.
Muttahida Majlis-i-Amal’s sole member Abdul Rasheed said the world had clearly seen the face of those extremists who attempted to show Islam as a faith of extremists.
He criticised the people at the helm in Pakistan, saying their “silence” on such an incident was a big question mark.
“We demand that the ambassador of Norway be expelled from the country and the Norwegian embassy be locked down,” said the MPA, who is also a local leader of the Jamaat-i-Islami.
Tehreek-i-Labbaik Pakistan’s parliamentary leader Mohammad Qasim said that the incident reflected the craving of the Europeans to attack Islam, but they would eventually fail.
He said Muslims had never desecrated the holy scriptures that were revered by other faiths.
TLP’s Sarwat Fatima asked the West to shun such acts that deeply hurt Muslims.
During the debate on the resolution, Speaker Durrani was not happy to see the number of lawmakers sitting in the house, which were less than the quorum required.
“What is more deplorable is the fact that many members who are movers of this resolution are not in the house to take part in the discussion,” said Mr Durrani.
TV reporter’s death triggers journalists’ protest
Journalists covering the session staged a demonstration outside the Sindh Assembly building and later staged a mute protest in the press gallery on the death of TV reporter S.M. Irfan, who died on Wednesday morning because of cardiac arrest.
The protesting journalists blamed long delays in payment of salary that led to his death because of increased depression and worsened financial problems.
The protesting reporters said such deaths in the fraternity “are on the rise because of increasing dismissals in many media houses and suspension of salaries for months”.
Information Minister Saeed Ghani furnished a policy statement after witnessing the reporters standing in the press gallery. He said several journalists’ services had been terminated in the past many months.
He said Irfan had not received his salary for the past six months.
Speaker Durrani said the matter should be investigated further.
“These organisations have earned a lot and have made empires. Whatever these empires have earned in the past 10 to 15 years is purely because of the labour of their workers. It is time to make sure that no such worker is left unpaid [for] his or her labour,” said Mr Ghani.
Published in Dawn, November 28th, 2019