Members from both sides of the aisle in the Senate Tuesday demanded that government agencies should take action against those who were committing blasphemy against Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) on social media and at other media platforms.

They were taking part in a debate in Senate here on an adjournment motion moved by Senator Muhammad Ali Khan Saif regarding the continuous display of abusive and blasphemous material against the Holy Prophet (PBUH).

Senator Mushtaq Ahmed said Pakistan was facing a cultural invasion and encircled by enemies of Islam.

He said Islam was present from one corner to another corner of the world, adding the eminence of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) could not be lessened by certain elements in the west.

He said freedom of social media should be curtailed as it was enjoying unbridled freedom and people on it were making fun of Islam and Islamic personalities.

United Nations and European Union should be approached on the issue of blasphemy, he suggested.

Leader of the House Shibli Faraz said a committee headed by Senator Muhammad Ali Saif should be formed to further look into the matter.

Senator Khushbakht Shujaat agreed that the government should act on the matter and also take up the issue at international forums.

Senator Azam Swati said it was an issue related to the whole humanity and disrespect hurt the sentiments of Muslims.

The love for Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) was part of feelings of every Muslim.

He said oversight of social media should be increased.

Senator A Rehman Malik condemned the making of caricatures against Prophet Muhammad (PBUH).

He said action should be initiated against those propagating anti-Islam and anti-Pakistan views.

He said the government should buy equipment worth $25 million for Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) to block blasphemous material and anti-Islam views.

Senator Attiq Sheikh endorsed the views of other Senators and said Federal Investigation Agency (FIA), Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) and Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (PEMRA) had failed to take action against insulting material.

He supported the idea of formation of a committee that could take workable steps to address the issue.

The Muslim Ummah would not tolerate the blasphemous material, he stressed.

Senator Moulvi Faiz Muhammad said Muslims would not tolerate insult of prophets recognized by Islam. He said Muslims should boycott the products of those committing blasphemy as a mark of protest.

Senator Usman Kakar said his party Pakhtunkhwa Milly Awami Party (PKMAP) condemned blasphemy in the strongest possible words and action should be taken against the perpetrators.

Senator Sajid Mir appreciated Senator Muhammad Ali Saif for representing feelings of the Muslims and said it was matter of faith that prophets should be respected.

He called for action against those spreading blasphemy on the social media.

Senator Imamuddin Shouqeen said protest should be registered with the embassy of Netherlands and the Dutch companies doing business in Pakistan and earning profits in billions should be put on notice and told about the situation arising out of the acts of blasphemy in Netherlands.

Deputy Chairman Senate Saleem Mandviwala said he would consult with leaders of the house and opposition for formation of committee to further deliberate on the issue.

While giving viewpoint of the government, Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi said freedom of speech and expression had its limits and the west also set the limit by not allowing people to distort events of the holocaust.

He said no civilized society allowed limitless freedom as happened in the case of language used against women.

The minister said if steps were not taken against blasphemy it would ignite religious extremism.

The cabinet in the first meeting expressed its anger and grief on the issue of blasphemy and the Dutch ambassador was called to the Foreign Office to make him aware of the situation.

He said after passage of the resolution in Senate, he wrote letters to Secretary General Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) asking it to call meeting of the permanent representatives based in Jeddah.

Letters were also written to the six member countries of OIC, he added.

Shah Mehmood said he would raise the issue at OIC forum during the meetings of the United Nations General Assembly.

The minister said previously after incidents of blasphemy, OIC warned of blockade of goods of countries where blasphemy was being committed and that sent a message to those countries.

He said the issue would also be raised in United Nations and European Union, adding he was conveyed by PTA that it blocked 32,000 websites and links posting blasphemous material.

He said Dutch Foreign Minister was likely to contact him and he would convey feelings of people of Pakistan and representatives of Parliament.