ISLAMABAD: The Senate on Friday unanimously adopted a resolution expressing its deepest dismay and shock at the vicious and vile act of the burning, tearing and desecrating the Holy Quran in Sweden and Netherlands.

Rules were suspended to allow lawmakers to discuss the matter and pass a resolution to condemn the desecration of the Holy Quran in the two European countries.

The resolution, moved by Senator Mushtaq Ahmed of Jamaat-i-Islami, said the upper house strongly protests to governments of Sweden and the Netherlands for allowing the extremists and fanatics to burn the Holy Quran in the name of freedom of expression.

The pretext of freedom of expression could not be used to attack religious sentiments and emotions of 1.5 billion Muslims of the world, the resolution said.

Describing these acts of Islamophobia as being hateful, vicious, highly explosive and contrary to principles of international law, the resolution expressed the collective will of state and people of Pakistan against the act of desecration of the Holy Quran by racists and extremists, saying that this vicious crime was a calculated and deliberate attempt to harm the interfaith harmony, social peace and religious tolerance.

The resolution said such acts would ultimately prove to be harmful and divisive for peace and stability among countries, cultures and civilizations.

The resolution urged Muslims of the world to maintain their calm and composure and promote Islam’s message of peace, tolerance and universal brotherhood.

The resolution urged the government to summon the ambassadors of Sweden and the Netherlands and convey strong sentiments, shock and anger of the people of Pakistan against these vile acts.

It said Sweden and Netherlands must be asked to take firm lawful actions against those who had desecrated the Holy Quran.

The resolution asked the government to coordinate with member countries of OIC to take a unified stand on this important issue which was central to the core beliefs of all Muslims of the world.

It said that Pakistan should take up this issue at the upcoming UN Human Rights Council session in Geneva next week.

Earlier, taking part in the debate, Minister for Law Azam Nazeer Tarar condemned the desecration of the Holy Quran in two European countries and assured the House that the matter was being taken up at all appropriate forums.

He informed the House that Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif had given him special instructions to tell the Senate that the government was fully alive to its international and diplomatic responsibilities. The minister said that Islamophobic incidents in European countries were a matter of great concern.

Mr Tarar said the government would take up the matter seriously at appropriate forums including the United Nations, OIC and the European Union and “we will register our strong protest in a responsible manner”.

Former prime minister and PPP Senator Syed Yousaf Raza Gilani said that protests were taking place in different parts of the world as the heinous crime committed in the two European countries had hurt the sentiments of all Muslims of the world.

Taking the floor, Senator Ahmad said those who had committed the act of desecrating the Holy Quran were terrorists who wanted to push the world towards the Third World War.

He called for lodging the strong protest with ambassadors of Sweden and the Netherlands to convey sentiments of all Muslims on these shameful acts.

Taking the floor, Defence Minister Khawaja Asif held the West responsible for increasing acts of terrorism and extremism, noting that such acts evoke a reaction in Muslims of the world.

The defence minister said that Islamophobia in Western countries was the main cause of extremism in Muslim countries.

He urged Western countries to stop Islamophobic incidents saying that their double standards on human rights and freedom of expression now posed a threat to the world peace.

He said the Muslim countries should collectively express their resentment over such abhorrent acts.

Published in Dawn, January 28th, 2023

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