ISLAMABAD-Another petition against blasphemous and defamatory caricatures in the French newspaper was Tuesday filed in the Islamabad High Court (IHC) seeking its directions for the government to ask the French government to tender apology over the incident.

Petitioner Salman Shahid filed the petition through his counsel Tariq Asad Advocate and nominated Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Prime Minister through Principal Secretary and Secretary Ministry of Interior as respondents.

He stated in the petition that the government of France has also appreciated the evil act of Charlie Hebdo newspaper passing unwarranted comments that the publication of caricatures was not against law of the land and was in consonance with the fundamental right of speech and expression of the citizens of France.

He added that the French government instead of condemning the Islamophobic act of the newspaper and protecting the sentiments and faith of the Muslims appreciated that gesture at official level.

“It was to pour oil on the fire to display those caricatures on the official buildings. It is thus shocking for the Muslims that French officials acknowledged the newspaper’s right to publish as it pleased, within the limits of their law ignoring the emotions of over 1.8 billion Muslims of the world and failed to deplore its choice to print images that were against the faith of Muslims which might be reasonably expected to cause violence,” said the petitioner’s counsel.

He mentioned that on 26-10-2020, the National Assembly passed a unanimous resolution expressing serious concern at the highly disturbing statements and hate mongering, especially by leaders like French President Emmanuel Macron, justifying unlawful provocation and insult to the sentiments of more than a billion Muslims in the world under the under the garb of freedom of expression.

The petitioner maintained that the feelings of the Muslims have been hurt and in case serious notice is not taken against the France government, the people may be anguished and provoked and may very likely start a movement throughout the country.

Therefore, the prayed to the court to direct the government to call off the diplomatic relations with the government of France till its President tenders his apology in clear terms and undertakes to restrain the Charlie Hebdo newspaper from publishing further the blasphemous material in his paper.

He also requested the court to direct the respondent No. 1 (Ministry of Foreign Affairs) to call the Ambassador of France and warn him to ask his government to tender apology and restrain the Charlie Hebdo newspaper and its editor from committing blasphemy again and direct the respondents to ban the import of French products in Pakistan and declare officially the boycott of French products in Pakistan markets.