Friday, July 12, 2024

Pakistan becomes self-appointed leader of Quran burning protests, asks Sweden for formal apology

New Delhi, July 7: Pakistani Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif hit out at Sweden on Thursday, saying that Muslims across the world are angry over the incident, adding that Pakistan would not tolerate any “propaganda against Muslims”.

Dawn reports that Sharif was addressing a joint session of the parliament, called specially to debate Sweden’s decision to allow an Iraqi man to burn a Quran in front of a Stockholm mosque. The move has led to much indignation in Pakistan and has totally suppressed the severe rioting and arson by migrants in France during the same period.

Sharif said: “Mr Speaker, we have gathered here today to condemn the desecration of the Holy Quran in the strongest of words, suggest measures to prevent such incidents in the future and pass a resolution on it.”

The Prime Minister also asked parliament Speaker Raja Pervaiz Ashraf to constitute a committee which would suggest recommendations to prevent such incidents in future. Sharif said: “It will be my responsibility to send the resolution and recommendations to Sweden.”

Sharif added: “Never has anyone heard or seen the Bible being desecrated or burnt here. We respect all these religions so that no one points a finger at our religion or book.”

In a statement seen to be encouraging violence, Sharif told the Pakistani parliament: “It is a part of our belief that we should sacrifice our lives to uphold the honour of the Holy Quran without worrying about anything… the restraint that we are showing must not be seen as a weakness.”

Pakistan is highly incensed over the burning of the Quran in Sweden and the Sharif government has escalated the matter to critical levels. It has dropped all other matters plaguing the nation – the killing of two Major-level army officers in five days, severe economic crisis and the challenge posed by former prime minister Imran Khan and his supporters.

In its zeal to be seen as a protector of the faith, the Pakistani government has shut its eyes to the fearfuls of the Christian minority. Proscribed terror outfit Lashkar-e-Jhangvi (LeJ) has announced bombings and killing of Christians and their places of worship to protest the Sweden incident.

Scared Christian priests and community leaders have been meeting police officials and have appealed to the Sharif government to provide protection from terror groups. The government is, however, busy with adding bigger dollops of radicalism to an already inflamed situation by asking for countrywide protests.

Separately, heightening the insecurity of minorities in the country, the Sharif government has given a call to hold demonstrations and rallies on Friday to protest against Sweden. It has also called upon the masses to lodge their protests over the Swedish incident.

It is unusual for governments to be seen mobilising people and protesting over such an incident. Called the Yaum-i-Taqaddus Quran (day to uphold the Holy Quran’s sanctity), the Sharif government, along with other political parties are mobilising people for street rallies and demonstrations.

The Pakistan government has conveniently seized the opportunity provided by an Iraqi refugee and out-of-touch Swedish authorities, to distract the attention of people from pressing issues like rising violence, increasing radicalism, suicide attacks, spiraling inflation and an edgy western border, not to mention the floods that have plagued the country over the last one year.

(The content is being carried under an arrangement with indianarrative.com)

–indianarrative

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