FILE - In this Nov. 19, 2020 file photo, Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan speaks during a joint news conference with Afghan President Ashraf Ghani at the Presidential Palace in Kabul, Afghanistan. Pakistani rights groups are criticizing Khan after he claimed in an online show on Sunday, April 4, 2021, that wearing the veil — the traditional Islamic head covering — will protect women from sexual assault and not lead men into temptation. (AP Photo/Rahmat Gul, File)(AP)
FILE - In this Nov. 19, 2020 file photo, Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan speaks during a joint news conference with Afghan President Ashraf Ghani at the Presidential Palace in Kabul, Afghanistan. Pakistani rights groups are criticizing Khan after he claimed in an online show on Sunday, April 4, 2021, that wearing the veil — the traditional Islamic head covering — will protect women from sexual assault and not lead men into temptation. (AP Photo/Rahmat Gul, File)(AP)

Expulsion of French envoy not a solution to blasphemy in the West: Imran Khan on radical group’s demand

  • Imran Khan said that there were violent protests in Pakistan after Salman Rushdie’s book in 1990 but those protests failed to stop the repeated instances of blasphemy in the west in the subsequent years.
PTI | , Islamabad
PUBLISHED ON APR 19, 2021 08:55 PM IST

Expulsion of the French ambassador from Pakistan was not a solution to stop the incidences of blasphemy in the western world, Prime Minister Imran Khan said on Monday as the banned radical Islamist party Tehreek-i-Labbaik Pakistan (TLP) sought the removal of the envoy.

Khan’s statement came after his government held talks with the TLP leadership in Lahore following a clash between the supporters of the outfit and the law enforcement agencies a day before in which 11 policemen and Rangers were taken hostage by the radicals. However, the Rangers were released on Monday.

Addressing the nation after violent protests across the country, Khan said expelling the French ambassador is not a solution to the problem of blasphemy.

“Sending away the French ambassador is not a solution. It will only trigger incidents of blasphemy in other countries as in the West they call it freedom of expression,” he said.

He added that snapping ties with France will impact ties with the European Union (EU) because France is among the main nations of the union and the EU will stand with France.

Also, the exports of textile for Pakistan would be hurt since they are done to the EU directly.

He said that TLP and the government were following the same objective that no one should insult the Prophet but their methods were different.

Khan said that there were violent protests in Pakistan after Salman Rushdie’s book in 1990 but those protests failed to stop the repeated instances of blasphemy in the west in the subsequent years.

“It means that protests are not a solution,” he said.

The Prime Minister said that his strategy was to take leaders of all Muslims countries on board on this issue and educate the west about the gravity of the blasphemy and its impact on the sentiments of the Muslims.

“We should tell the European nations how much we get hurt when someone insults our Prophet,” he said adding the Muslims should emulate the Jews who successfully established the sanctity of Holocaust.

Khan promised that with the help of other Muslims countries, he will convince the Europeans that their blasphemous actions hurt the Muslims.

Khan said the enemies of Pakistan were trying to paint the protest as civil war.

He also asked the clerics to help the government to come out of the current unrest as the economy is going upward and it was not the time to hurt the country.

Earlier, Khan addressing a gathering lamented that political and religious parties in Pakistan "misused" Islam to deal damage to the country, the Dawn newspaper reported.

"ln our country it is a great misfortune that many times our political parties and religious parties use Islam wrongly and use it such that they deal damage to their own country," he said.

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