Pakistan PM Imran Khan urges all Muslim countries to join hands against boycott by the west.
Pakistan’s Prime Minister Khan said its high time to we all Muslims come together and prevent trade boycott by the west.
‘Together we should ask Europe, the European Union and United Nations to stop hurting the feelings of 1.25 billion Muslims like they do not do in [the] case of Jews.’
‘I want the Muslim countries to devise a joint line of action over the blasphemy issue with a warning of trade boycott of countries where such incidents will happen,’ Khan continued. ‘This will be the most effective way to achieve the goal.’
Khan said Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi has already discussed the plan with four foreign ministers from Muslim-majority countries.
Britain’s former foreign secretary Sir Malcolm Rifkind told MailOnline that trying to force Western countries to bring in such a ban would be ‘foolish’.
‘That is a pretty foolish decision. It is not countries that insult the Prophet Mohammed, it’s individual citizens. However distasteful that might be, as in Pakistan it is the law of the United Kingdom or any other country to determine whether they are allowed to do that or not,’ Sir Malcolm said.
He said it should be for the courts to decide whether insulting the Prophet breached the law.
‘We already have laws about hate crimes, which apply regardless of a particular religion. I do not think there should be a separate law for one religion.’
Sir Malcolm added: ‘The comparison with the Holocaust doesn’t really carry weight. If the Holocaust happened elsewhere, something similar, the reaction should be exactly the same as the reaction has been to the Holocaust during the Second World War.’
The veteran Tory also suggested that Khan’s approach was motivated by his own fading domestic popularity.
‘I suspect, I don’t obviously know, but I suspect this is being done more for domestic consumption within Pakistan, because it is a point of view that might command quite considerable support there from what we’ve seen in the past, and Imran Khan is not as popular today as he was when he first became PM.
‘It is entirely likely that he is not terribly interested in the reaction in Britain or America or France or Germany – he’s interested in the reaction in Pakistan.’
Khan’s address on Monday comes after the Pakistani government opened negotiations last week with radical religious group Tehreek-i-Labbaik Pakistan (TLP) over anti-blasphemy protests against France.
The TLP had led violent nationwide anti-France protests demanding that Pakistan expel the French ambassador in retaliation for the publication in France of cartoons depicting the Prophet Mohammed. +10
Khan said in his address yesterday that the banned group’s approach to get the ambassador expelled by putting the government in a corner was not an effective solution to the blasphemy issue.
He had previously warned that Pakistan risked paying a price if it expelled the French envoy, as half the country’s exports are sold to the European Union.
Last week on Monday, Khan had called on the countries to lobby Western nations in a televised address.
‘We need to explain why this hurts us, when in the name of freedom of speech they insult the honour of the prophet,’ Imran Khan said in a televised address on Monday.
‘When 50 Muslim countries will unite and say this, and say that if something like this happens in any country, then we will launch a trade boycott on them and not buy their goods, that will have an effect.’
The address came on the same day that the government opened negotiations with TLP over the protests with left four police officer’s dead.
A day later, TLP called an end to the violent protests after the government called a parliamentary vote on whether to expel the French ambassador and said it would halt criminal cases against the group’s members.