ISLAMABAD: French President Emanuel Macron came under fire in the National Assembly and the Senate on Monday for his Islamophobic remarks amid calls by lawmakers to sever diplomatic ties with France.
Both houses unanimously adopted resolutions over the issue, with the National Assembly’s resolution being more specific and stronger. The resolution was moved by Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi after incorporating a separate one sought to be moved by the opposition. It urged the government to recall Pakistan’s ambassador from France.
It also called for working within the OIC for designating March 15 as the International Day to Combat Islamophobia and asked the OIC to boycott French products.
The resolution also called upon all non-OIC countries to provide legal help to Muslims residing in their countries for redressal of their genuine grievances and urged the United Nations Secretary General and the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights to immediately initiate a global dialogue for inter-faith harmony and for countering rising Islamophobia.
Parliament adopts resolutions condemning Macron’s Islamophobic remarks
Soon after the adoption of the resolution, Deputy Speaker Qasim Suri also demanded that the Ambassador of Pakistan in France be recalled immediately.
The Senate, while taking cognisance of recurring systematic pattern of Islamophobia and attacks on Islam, the Holy Prophet (peace be upon him) and Muslims under the garb of freedom of expression, through a resolution strongly condemned the latest attempt of illegal and Islamophobic acts of republication of caricatures of the Holy Prophet (PBUH) in France.
The resolution, moved by Leader of the House in Senate Dr Shahzad Waseem, said that such condemnable acts, especially when supported by governments, further increased discord, alienation and divide between followers of different faiths.
The house reaffirmed that love for the Prophet (PBUH) was beyond any doubt part of the faith, and no Muslim could tolerate such horrendous acts in the name of freedom of expression
The house expressed serious concern over these incidents which caused anger among Muslims and hurt their sentiments.
It urged parliaments of the world to come up with a framework and means to stop recurrence of such acts in future to ensure peaceful co-existence as well as social and interfaith harmony.
Senate Chairman Sadiq Sanjrani directed Senate staff concerned that a copy of the resolution be sent to the French Ambassador in Pakistan.
Senators from both sides of the aisle in their speeches demanded severing diplomatic relations with France and boycotting its products.
Speaking on the occasion, Jamaat-i-Islami chief Senator Siraj-ul-Haq said that actions of France had hurt feelings of 1.52 billion Muslims. He underlined the need for convening an OIC meeting to discuss and take a joint stand on the serious issue.
Senator Haq demanded of the government to boycott all French products and expel its ambassador from the country. “Pakistan should take the lead in the OIC on the matter”.
Senator Attaur Rahman of JUI-F went a step ahead to demand that diplomatic ties with France be severed till the government of France tendered an apology. He said that remarks of French President vitiated global environment and provoked sentiments.
Mushahidullah Khan of PML-N said there was no harm in mulling over the proposal, but said that a permanent solution must be found out to stop recurrence of such deplorable incidents. He suggested that the OIC should declare boycott of all French products.
Barrister Muhammad Ali Saif of MQM endorsed the demand for severing diplomatic relations with France and said that the French President’s remarks were also in violation of Article 10 of the Council of Europe which talks of duties and responsibilities in the exercise of freedom of speech and expression.
Senator Mohsin Aziz of PTI said that the French Ambassador to Pakistan should be expelled and Pak-France parliamentary friendship group be disbanded. He said that French products should be boycotted by the people and the government.
Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs Ali Muhammad Khan said that the only way to stop Islamophobia was to become strong by investing in education and technology.
The Senate through another unanimously adopted resolution expressed complete solidarity with the people of Indian Illegally Occupied Jammu and Kashmir.
The resolution was moved in the House by PPP Parliamentary leader Senator Sherry Rehman. The resolution termed October 27 as the Black Day in the history of Kashmiri people since it was on October 27, 1947, that Indian troops landed in Srinagar and forcibly occupied Jammu and Kashmir.
The Senate while taking note of successive UN Security Council Resolutions in this regard, rejected the illegal Indian occupation of Kashmir, the root cause of the Kashmir problem for the last 73 years. This brutal Indian occupation based on falsehood, fear and force, is primarily responsible for the miserable plight of struggling Kashmiri children, women and men who have been forced to remain part of India under the diktat of bullets, bayonets and bombs. India has falsified and forged a document which it terms as an “Instrument of Accession” and this forgery has been unmasked by respected international historians.
Published in Dawn, October 27th, 2020