Sindh assembly condemns French sketches

Lawmakers stress blasphemous caricatures cannot be allowed at any cost


Hafeez Tunio April 22, 2021
Sindh Assembly Session. PHOTO: NNI

KARACHI:

With Tehreek-e-Labbaik Pakistan lawmakers present, the Sindh Assembly on Wednesday passed a unanimous resolution to condemn the publication of blasphemous sketches of Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) in France.

It demanded a federal movement to approach the European Union (EU) to impose a ban on any such practice which harms religious harmony throughout the world.

Different resolutions, moved in the houses by opposition and treasury MPAs, were clubbed into one and presented by Sindh Information Minister Syed Nasir Shah. The minister also holds the additional charge of the provincial religious ministry.

Read: Deadlock persists as govt rejects TLP demand of Rashid’s resignation

As the session started with deputy speaker Rehana Leghari in the chair, banned Tehreek Labaik Pakistan (TKP) MPAs, Mufti Qasim Fakhri and Sarwat Fatima, were present in the house. Many lawmakers were left baffled to see MPAs of the proscribed party, banned by the federal government in the wake of the Lahore riots, in the house.

Not only were the banned party's lawmakers were present, but they moved a resolution to condemn the violence against their workers and demanded that the ban on their outfit be lifted. They also demanded the extradition of the French envoy in Pakistan.

Though the deputy speaker did not take their resolution separately, she gave them the chance to speak on a joint resolution moved by the Sindh information minister.

TLP MPA Mufti Qasim, who was fully charged against the federal government, said workers and leaders of his party were demanding the implementation of the agreement between TLP and the PTI government to expel the French envoy. He added that instead, police tortured workers of the party and imposed a ban.

"The PTI crossed all limits of fascism and took action against those who were protesting against desecrate caricatures," he said. The lawmaker pressed for lifting the ban against TLP without any delay and the release of all arrested leaders and workers. He demanded the registration of an FIR against the interior minister for “killing his party’s workers”.

Syed Nasir Hussain Shah was of the view that the federal government, using the foreign office, must approach and sensitise the EU and its countries on avoiding such practices in future. "They don't know that we Muslims are ready to sacrifice our lives in the name of the Prophet (PBUH). How can we tolerate such blasphemous acts?" he asked. The MPA added that the sensitive issue was badly managed by the federal government.

Muttahida Majlis-e-Amal MPA Abdul Rashid, while condemning the act, said Charlie Hebdo and other publications in Europe repeated the same mistake and there must be a strong reaction. "We fully support the TLP movement and demand the resignation of federal interior minister Sheikh Rashid who ordered action against the protesting people," he said.

"I want to ask why the federal government had earlier inked an agreement to expel the French ambassador. The federal government, especially the interior minister, have added fuel to the fire," he remarked.

Read more: Govt under fire for mishandling TLP crisis

The Grand Democrstice Alliance (GDA) and Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) lawmakers also supported the resolution. Earlier, during the fateha session, members of PPP, MMA and TLP also condemned the federal government action, calling it aggression against the religious party.

During the session, the PPP and PTI MPAs locked horns when opposition leader Haleem Adil Sheikh used harsh words against deputy speaker Rehana Leghari for not allowing him permission to speak on a point of order.

Amid the noisy session, MQM MPAs left the house and later speaker adjourned the session till today.

Earlier, Sindh Health Minister Azra Pechuho informed the house that her department would start corona vaccination for the people of ages after Eidul Fitr.

Published in The Express Tribune, April 22nd, 2021.

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