RAWALPINDI: A series of rallies were organised in Rawalpindi and Islamabad by political and religious parties, traders, journalists and members of civil society on Friday to condemn the desecration of the Holy Quran in Sweden.
The participants of rallies were holding banners and placards mentioning slogans against Sweden and in favour of Islam. Police made tight security arrangements for the protection of participants.
A rally was taken out by Tehreek-i-Labaik Pakistan (TLP) under the leadership of Emir Punjab Pir Syed Inayyatul Haq Shah Sultanpuri in the city to protest the desecration of the Holy Quran by an Iraqi national in Sweden.
The ‘Tahafuz-i-Quran’ rally that started from Liaquat Bagh and reached Faizabad was attended by District Emir Haji Mohammad Ramzan Chishti, Naib Emir Haji Mohammad Ali Jamal, Qari Shafi Mohammad Qadri, Sahibzada Abdul Rehman Sialvi, Syed Mohammad Adeel Shah and many others.
‘Down with Sweden’, ‘punish the accused involved in the desecration of the Quran’ and ‘Islam Zindabad’ were the slogans mentioned on placards held by the participants.
Speakers registered their strong protest against the incident in Sweden and demanded the government boycott the Swedish products and expel its envoy from Pakistan.
Likewise, Pakistan Sunni Tehreek also organised a major rally on Murree Road to protest the desecration of the Holy Quran in Sweden. The rally started from GPO Chowk in Saddar and culminated at the Rawalpindi Press Club.
“Showing disrespect to Holy Quran is not the sign of freedom of expression,” said Allama Tahir Iqbal Chishti.
“The leaders of Muslim Ummah and specifically Pakistan have to take action against the Swedish terrorist to stop the occurrence of such incidents in future,” he said.
Jamaat-i-Islami leader Dr Tariq Saleem also led a rally to condemn the desecration of the Quran in Sweden.
“The infidels are involved in this satanic act to ignite two billion Muslims,” he said, urging the international community to play a vital role for peace.
“The Islamic teachings and sanctity of Hazrat Muhammad (PBUH) are the ‘red line’ for Muslims,” he said. The District Bar Association also carried out a rally to denounce the incident.
LHCBA President Tanvir Iqbal Khan, General Secretary Raja Shaukat Satti, Vice President DBA Shahid Hameed Bhatti and others participated in the rally.
Water and Sanitation Agency (Wasa) employees led by Managing Director Mohammad Tanveer also organised a walk on Murree Road against the incident.
Call for punishment
Rawalpindi Arts Council organised a protest rally from Murree Road to Arts Council. The rally was led by Arts Council Director Waqar Ahmad. Arts Council Assistant Director Mohammad Suleman was also present on this occasion. The participants demanded severe punishment for the culprit.
Director of Arts Council Waqar Ahmed said in his address to the participants of the rally that Islam is a universal religion, with reference to its beliefs, rules, traditions and values, its invitation is not for any nation, race or region, but for the entire human race.
Desecration of the Holy Quran, religious tolerance, mutual respect, civility and decency is a bigoted and hateful act that cannot be tolerated in any way, he added.
Assistant Director Mohammad Suleman said the United Nations celebrated the International Day against Islamophobia in March this year and acknowledged that “desecration of the Holy Quran, profane cartoons and derogatory remarks about Islam are hurting the sentiments of Muslims”.
Discrimination is being allowed through Islamophobia, which the United Nations needs to take action against, he added.
On the other hand, Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) Islamabad and Rawalpindi chapters led by Hanif Abbasi and local leaders brought out separate rallies and joined together at Faizabad against the burning of Holy Quran in Sweden.
Traders in Sitara Market held a rally and burnt the Sweden flag, demanding the government to raise the issue at the UN level.
The protesters carrying placards and chanted slogans, calling on the government to expel the Swedish ambassador.
Separately, Malik Aamir Fida Paracha, the spokesman to PPP leader Asif Ali Zardari, said: “PPP Chairman and Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari has raised his voice against Islam phobia on all the forums including General Assembly of United Nations,” he said.
Mr Paracha said leaders of Muslim countries should forge unity among their ranks to coup with the infidels involved in such satanic acts.
Published in Dawn, July 8th, 2023