KARACHI: Sindh High Court Bar Association (SHCBA) and Karachi Bar Association observed a complete strike on Wednesday to register their protest over republication of caricatures of Holy Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) in France and President Emmanuel Macron’s anti-Islam comments.

Members of legal fraternity stayed away from the court proceeding and SHCBA held a general body meeting at the high court. It resolved to take legal action against all French interests in Pakistan including its companies and products.

In a resolution, the general body said that freedom of speech did not mean freedom to insult or ridicule. No one in the entire world has the right to speak, write or draw sketches against the Holy Prophet Muhammad (PBUH), according to the resolution.

The SHC bar also demanded snapping of diplomatic ties with France and expelling its ambassador from Pakistan. It called upon the United Nations and the Organization of Islamic Conference and Amnesty international to play their role by letting better sense prevail lest it be too late.

Meanwhile, Karachi Bar Association also held a meeting of its general body at City Courts as part of the nationwide protest to condemn France and its president over the issue

Former Supreme Court Bar Association president Yasin Azad spoke at the meeting and demanded the government to pass a resolution against the French president.

Advocate Azad said while the parliament used to hold its joint sessions on every other matter, it did not call a single one on the issue, which had created unrest across the Muslim world. He urged the government to severe diplomatic ties with France.

He called for a boycott of all French products until Mr Macron tendered an apology and withdrew the blasphemous caricatures. He said that profaning a religion was not ‘freedom of expression’ but ‘terrorism’.

Later, lawyers took out a rally and marched through M.A. Jinnah Road. An effigy of the French president was torched during the rally.

Published in Dawn, October 29th, 2020