ISLAMABAD - Both the houses of Parliament – Senate and National Assembly – yesterday unanimously adopted resolutions in their separate sessions condemning the publication of blasphemous caricatures in France and the “resurgence of Islamophobic acts” in some countries.

In the National Assembly, though the resolution moved by Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi was passed unanimously, yet the house witnessed a verbal brawl between government and opposition before the presentation of the resolution.

According to the unanimous resolution, the lower house took serious notice of the republication of blasphemous caricatures depicting Prophet Muhammad (Peace Be Upon Him) and the desecration of the Holy Quran in Norway and Sweden and condemned in strongest terms the resurgence of blasphemous and Islamophobic acts by mischievous elements in some parts of the world.

The house expressed serious concern at the “highly concerning statements and hate-mongering especially by leaders like [French] President Emmanuel Macron justifying unlawful propagation and insult to sentiments of more than a billion Muslims through such hate-driven acts under the garb of freedom of expression”.

“[The assembly] condemns unequivocally the practice of blasphemy and of insulting prophets of Islam, Christianity and Judaism alike,” according to the resolution, which also denounced acts of terror carried out in the name of any religion.

It deplored the “equating of Islam and Muslims with terrorism” and in order to effectively address the issue. It also urged the government to work within the OIC for designating March 15 as the International Day to Combat Islamophobia.

The resolution, which was subsequently passed unanimously, also called upon all non-OIC countries to provide legal avenues to Muslims residing in their territory for the redressal of their genuine grievances and urged the United Nations Secretary General and UN High Commissioner for Human Rights to immediately initiate a global dialogue for inter-faith harmony and the countering of rising Islamophobia.

Through its resolution, the Senate also took cognizance of the “recurring systematic pattern of Islamophobia and attacks on Islam and Muslims under the garb of freedom of expression strongly condemns the latest attempt of illegal and Islamophobic acts of republication of blasphemous caricatures.

The resolution reaffirmed that “the love for our beloved Prophet (Peace Be Upon Him) is beyond any doubt a part of our faith and no Muslim can tolerate such horrendous acts.”

The resolution strongly urged the parliaments and the international community to come up with a framework and means to stop recurrence of such acts in future so as to ensure peaceful coexistence as well as social and interfaith harmony.

Senate Chairman Sadiq Sanjrani directed the Secretariat that a copy of the resolution should be sent to the French Ambassador in Pakistan.

After the passage of resolution, the lawmakers from both sides of the aisle in their speeches called for severing diplomatic ties with France and boycotting its products.

Ameer Jamaat-e-Islami Senator Sirajul Haq said that the actions of France have hurt the feelings of Muslims. He called for convening an OIC meeting on this issue.

JUI-F Senator Attaur Rahman endorsed Senator Siraj about severing diplomatic ties with France till the time France tenders an apology.  

Parliamentary Leader of PML-N in the House Mushahid Ullah Khan said a permanent solution must be found out to stop recurrence of such incidents. He suggested that the OIC should declare boycott of the French products.

MQM Senator Barrister Muhammad Ali Saif said that French President’s remarks were also in violation of Article 10 of the Council of Europe which talks of duties and responsibilities in the exercise of freedom of speech and expression.

Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs Ali Muhammad Khan stressed that there was no ultimate freedom of speech, and it is always qualified and subject to restrictions. He said the only way to stop Islamophobia was to become strong by investing in education and technology.

The house through another unanimously adopted resolution moved by Parliamentary Leader of PPP in the House Senator Sherry Rehman termed October 27 as a “Black Day”.

The resolution expressed full solidarity with the “popular, spontaneous, indigenous and widespread uprising of the heroic people of Indian Illegally Occupied Jammu and Kashmir.”

The house taking note of successive UN Security Council Resolutions in this regard, resolutely rejected the illegal Indian occupation of Kashmir which is the root cause of the Kashmir problem for the last 73 years.  

The house strongly condemned the Prime Minister Narendra Modi regime in India for following policies based on “bigotry and Islamophobia that seek to divide society and promote discrimination against the people of Jammu and Kashmir on the basis of their ethnicity and religion.”

Earlier, the national assembly saw verbal brawl between PTI’s Shah Mehmood Qureshi and PML-N’s Khwaja Muhammad Asif.

The opposition members wanted to present their own versions of the resolution from the opposition side.

Shah Mehmood Qureshi blamed Khwaja Asif for doing politics on a sacred matter by presenting a separate resolution.

He also read out resolution from the government side, but Minister for Planning Asad Umar after sensing the emotions from both sides asked the chair to suspend the house for ten minutes to cool down the situation.

The deputy speaker suspended the house for ten minutes to control the situation, as after that a unanimous resolution was passed from the house.

Earlier, Khwaja Asif came down hard on the PTI’s government in different perspectives. He said, “Incumbent government’s days are numbered. Institutions of the country are in danger.”

PML-N’s Ahsan Iqbal, taking the floor on point of order, demanded apology from the foreign minister for equating the opposition benches with India.