Islamabad: After succumbing to the demands of the proscribed radical Islamist group Tehreek-e-Labbaik Pakistan (TLP), which was banned by the government, Prime Minister Imran Khan appears to want to impose Islamic blasphemy laws across the world.
“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 said in an address last week, reported The Spectator.
This comes after three days of violent protests last month, where hundreds of protesters and police personnel were injured and thousands of TLP activists and supporters were arrested and booked for attacking law enforcement personnel and blocking main roads and highways in protest against the arrest of their leader Saad Hussain Rizvi.
The banned group had demanded the expulsion of the French ambassador and a boycott of French goods after Charlie Hebdo republished its Muhammad cartoons in September last year.
Several police vehicles were torched, buildings were attacked and policemen were kidnapped and tortured by the activists of the TLP across the Punjab province.
Arab News reported that at least six policemen were killed and over 800 were injured, citing official figures.
While Imran Khan has reminded the TLP of the economic consequences of rushing against France, he has also reassured the group that he shares the ‘same goals’ as them, which was exemplified when the premier presented a resolution in Parliament to expel the French ambassador last week, writes Kunwar Khuldune Shahid for The Spectator.
However, Khan has stopped short of implementing a trade ban given the hundreds of millions worth of aid France gives to Pakistan and the billions worth of trade and aid the country gets from the European Union (EU), instead exporting Pakistan’s murderous blasphemous laws.
Pakistan is one of 12 Muslim countries where blasphemy is still punishable by death. Hundreds have been on death row in Pakistan for ‘committing blasphemy’ by teaching certain ideas at universities, liking a post on Facebook, or drinking water from a Muslim’s glass.
Earlier last month, two Christian nurses were charged with blasphemy for removing a sticker with an Islamic inscription on it in a Faisalabad hospital ward while in March, the Aurat [Women’s] March in Pakistan has been accused of blasphemy for demanding human rights for women, reported The Spectator.
In 2020, a Muslim woman from the constitutionally excommunicated Ahmadiyya community was arrested for blasphemy after giving charity to a mosque and an Ahmadi man was shot dead in a courtroom during his blasphemy trial.
Shahid wrote that Ahmadi killings and state-backed demolition of their mosques, has continued in 2021, with the likes of the TLP, along with the Pakistan government’s advisory Council of Islamic Ideology, demanding that the Ahmadiyya sect be collectively declared as blasphemers and apostates.
While Khan aggressively clamours against Western Islamophobia, Pakistan continues to conduct its own brutal ‘Islamophobia’ against Ahmadiyya and Shia Islam. Meanwhile, blasphemy against Hinduism continues, with Khan’s ministers openly mocking Hindu deities and around 1,000 Hindu and Christian girls, mostly underage, forcibly converted to Islam each year.
In his quest, the Pakistan PM recently co-founded an ‘anti-Islamophobia TV channel’ in 2019, along with Mahathir Mohamad – who believes Muslims have a right to ‘kill millions of French’ – and Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
Though Khan has previously confessed that when living in Pakistan there is a fear associated with talking about ‘anything perceived to be sacrilegious, it is the same fear he now wants to instil in the West.