ISLAMABAD: The Federal Cabinet meeting on Wednesday has decided to observe September 21 as 'Ishq-e-Rasool (pbuh)' day to express reverence for Prophet Mohammad (pbuh) and register the government's protest against the recently released anti-Islam film in the US, Express News reported.
The day has been declared as a national holiday as well.
Prime Minister Raja Pervaiz Ashraf, addressing the Cabinet meeting, said, “At this moment, I call upon the people of Pakistan to register their protests peacefully but to observe restraints and not to damage their own property.”
He added, “I have directed the Ministry of Information Technology to block YouTube in order to register our protest at the availability of this sacrilegious film on the website, and our demand for its immediate removal.”
Earlier, Prime Minister Ashraf suspended all agenda items on the list for today’s meeting and instead discussed ways and means to express Pakistan’s strong resentment against the film.
The controversial film has sparked protests all across the world by Muslims, protesting against the portrayal of Prophet Mohammad (pbuh) in the film.
The government has recently blocked YouTube in the country after the company refused to remove the film’s trailer from the site.
Along with Pakistan, other Muslim countries, including Afghanistan and Bangladesh have also blocked the website. In India, Youtube complied with government’s order and blocked the content.
Google said it was censoring the video in India and Indonesia after blocking it on Wednesday in Egypt and Libya.
Proposal on agreement with YouTube
The cabinet discussed a proposal for entering into an agreement with YouTube to block only the required videos on the website, Information Minister Qamar Zaman Kaira told the media after the cabinet meeting.
He added that not only the US Ambassador to Pakistan, but also the US president and ministers have strongly condemned the blasphemous film. There was also a proposal to hold a meeting of Pakistani ambassadors to discuss the issue, he said.
Kaira also supported the idea of summoning the US Ambassador to Pakistan to the Foreign Office lodge a strong protest.
‘Government to provide protection during protests’
Interior Minister Rehman Malik said that special security arrangements will be made on the Ishq-e-Rasool Day on Friday and the government will provide complete protection to protests being held on that day, reported Radio Pakistan.
Chairing a high-level meeting in Islamabad on Wednesday, Malik said that no one will be allowed to take law into his own hands and damage private or public property during the protests.
He further directed the Crisis Management Cell to fully monitor the processions and directed all hospitals to stay on high alert.