Strongly denouncing the publication of ‘insulting’ caricatures in French satirical weekly Charlie Hebdo, a Senate panel on Friday urged the West to criminalise Islamophobia the same way it had outlawed Holocaust denial.
Chaired by Senator Haji Muhammad Adeel, the Senate Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs passed a unanimous resolution condemning the “willful slander and insults hurled by a section of the French media towards Islam and the core beliefs of all Muslims”.
“Such an approach reflects the hypocrisy and double standards among some in the West who justify this provocation in the name of freedom while jailing those who deny the Holocaust,” the resolution reads.
The committee welcomed the statement of Pope Francis II who condemned the provocative caricatures and said no one had the right to mock any person’s faith.
The committee also discussed in detail Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s visits to China, Germany and the UK, Afghan President Ashraf Ghani’s visit to Pakistan and the outcome of last year’s Saarc summit.
Senator Adeel asked Adviser to Prime Minister on Foreign Affairs Sartaj Aziz about the reasons behind the postponement of the Chinese president’s visit to Pakistan. He was told by Foreign Secretary Aizaz Chaudhry that the visit was postponed due to opposition parties’ sits-ins in the capital.
Senator Adeel noted that the Pak-China Economic Corridor was highly important for both countries, but pointed out that there were reports in the press about some modifications in the original design. Discussing the recent Saarc summit in Nepal, the foreign secretary told the committee that the member states as well as the whole world saw a positive and constructive role of Pakistani leadership. He said Pakistan held bilateral meetings with all the member countries except India but the incidental handshake between the two premiers also sent a very positive and meaningful message.
Published in The Express Tribune, January 17th, 2015.