Islamabad, Oct 26 (PTI) Pakistan on Monday summoned French Ambassador Marc Barety to lodge a 'strong protest' against the publication of caricatures on the Prophet and comments made by French President Emmanuel Macron, as the country's parliament demanded the government to recall its envoy from Paris.
'It was underscored that such illegal and Islamophobic acts hurt the sentiments of Muslims across the world, including those in Pakistan. Furthermore, such actions could not be justified in the name of freedom of expression,' the Foreign Office said in a statement.
Pakistan reiterated that freedom of expression should not be misused as means to attack or hurt public sentiments or religious beliefs and fan inter-religious hatred, hostility and confrontation, it said.
Hours later, Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi moved a resolution in the National Assembly, condemning the publication of caricatures in France and the 'resurgence of Islamophobic acts' in some countries, which was unanimously passed.
It deplored the 'equating of Islam and Muslims with terrorism' and in order to effectively address the issue, urged the government to “recall the Pakistani envoy from Paris”.
The resolution also asked the 57-member states of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) to boycott French goods.
'(The assembly) condemns unequivocally the practice of blasphemy and of insulting prophets of Islam, Christianity and Judaism alike,' the resolution said.
The House also denounced acts of terror carried out in the name of any religion.
The lower house also 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”.
Macron has defended such depictions as protected under the right to free speech. 'We won’t renounce the caricatures,” he said last week.
Separately, Radio Pakistan reported that Foreign Minister Qureshi said that Macron's irresponsible statement had added 'fuel to the fire'. PTI SH ZH ZH