LAHORE  - Ulema announced that Muslims would observe Condemnation Day on January 23 (Friday) and Non-Muslims on January 25 (Sunday) against publication of blasphemous caricature by a French weekly magazine. They also announced  All Parties Conference in Islamabad on January 26 to devise future line of action in the wake of condemnable act of a French magazine that hurt the feeling of billions of Muslims across the globe.

Pakistan Ulema Council arranged the meeting at a local hotel on Monday to discuss the prevailing scenario and get feedback from scholars of various school of thought and leaders from other religions.

Chairman PUC Hafiz Tahir Mahmood Ashrafi presided over the meeting also attended by Bishop of Lahore Bishop Sibtain F Shaw, Bishop Munawar Shaw, Pastor Shahid Meraj, Sikh leader Sardatr Sham Singh, Hindu leader Munawar Chand, Zahid Qasmi, Hafiz Kazim Raza, Abdul Rehman Ludhianvi, Dr Ghafoor, Hafiz Amjad and ulema from various school of thought.

Eight point joint communiqué issued after the meeting termed publication of caricatures terrorism and demanded the UN to do legislation in line with the statement of Pope Francis regarding respect for every religion to ensure peace and harmony in the world.

The communiqué also demanded the European countries to ban magazines and newspapers publishing blasphemous caricatures.

It also appreciated and thanked leaders from Sikhs, Christians, Hindus and other religions for condemning and raising voice against the act of French magazine and termed it a successful effort in promoting religious harmony in the country. Appreciating the statement of Pope Francis, the communiqué appealed leaders from all religions to make sincere efforts for stopping such objectionable act in the name of freedom of expression. It urged people from all religions and faith to keep their protest peaceful. It also condemned attack on Army Public School Peshawar and assured full support to the armed forces in war against terrorism.

Meanwhile, the Jamiat Ulema Pakistan (JUP) has announced to observe ‘Youm-i-Azmat-e-Rasool’ on January 23 (Friday) across the country to register protest against the publication of blasphemous images of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) in a French weekly.  The JUP top leadership including Pir Ijaz Hashmi, president, Shah Awais Noorani, general secretary and others made the decision to observe Youm-i-Azmat-e-Rasool in a party meeting on Monday.

Addressing a press conference after the meeting, Hashmi and Noorani made the announcement to register JUP’s strongest protest against the blasphemous caricatures on January 23 (Friday).  They while expressing no-confidence over the role of UNO and OIC concerning the terrorism of an European weekly against the religion of Islam and the last Prophet demanded that Saudi Arabia, Iran, Turkey and Pakistan should summon the meeting of Muslim states to devise a joint strategy on this serious issue.  They demanded of the government to severe diplomatic ties with France and stop the import of her products, besides the countries encouraging the blasphemous images.

JUP top leaders on this occasion said that they were making efforts for a greater opposition alliance and a delegation of the part would soon start contacting the opposition parties for this purpose.

JUP meeting condemning the serious crisis of the petrol have demanded of the government to sack the petroleum minister.