Resolution lands in NA calling for debate on French envoy’s fate

By: News Desk      Published: 04:39 PM, 20 Apr, 2021
Resolution lands in NA calling for debate on French envoy’s fate
National Assembly Speaker Asad Qaiser chairs the session.

The ruling Pakistan Tehrik-e-Insaf (PTI) has tabled a resolution in the National Assembly calling for a debate on whether to expel the French ambassador in the country, reported 24NewsHD TV channel.

The resolution, presented in the House by PTI member Amjad Ali Niazi on Tuesday afternoon, strongly condemned the publication of blasphemous caricatures in a French magazine.

The draft of the resolution also called for raising the issue at all international fora. “All Muslim and European countries must be made aware of the seriousness of the issue,” the resolution added.

The resolution says “All European countries in general and France in particular should be made aware of the seriousness of this issue. There should be discussions with all the Muslim countries. This matter should be raised collectively at international forums.

The resolution condemned the publication of blasphemous caricatures by French magazine Charlie Hebdo in September 2020 and earlier same Charlie Hebdo published blasphemous cartoons in 2015 in a bid to disrupt peace and sentiments of Muslims worldwide. It also regretted the French's president "encouragement of the elements hurting the sentiments of the hundreds of millions of Muslims in the name of freedom of expression".

The resolution demanded for a debate to be held on the issue of expelling the French ambassador from Pakistan, and to "apprise all European countries, especially France, of the gravity of this matter". It further said detailed discussions on the matter should be held with all Muslim countries and it should be taken up jointly on international forums.

"This house also demands that the state should decide matters of international relations and no person, group or party can exert unnecessary illegal pressure in this regard.”

This resolution also called upon the provincial governments to allocate specific sites for protests in all districts so that citizens' daily life was not disrupted.

Taking part in the debate, PML-N senior leader Shahid Khaqan Abbasi said the resolution should have been unanimous. “We seek some time from the speaker. We will come back with our inputs to the resolution which will give it a shape of the unanimous resolution,” he added.

Earlier, Interior Minister Sheikh Rasheed Ahmed said a resolution on the French diplomat would be presented to the National Assembly and that Tehreek-i-Labbaik Pakistan (TLP) had agreed to "call off its protest sit-ins from the entire country".

Lahore police said at least six officers had been killed, while 11 others were held hostage for several hours at a TLP mosque -- where hundreds of party supporters are still holed out.

The government had banned the TLP on Wednesday last -- effectively labelling them a terror organisation -- and police arrested thousands of protesters during clashes, but Sheikh Rasheed said no action would be taken against them.

"Cases registered -- including those under the fourth schedule -- will also be withdrawn," he said, referring to charges that fall under anti-terror laws.

Prime Minister Imran Khan on Monday pleaded with the banned group to end its violent campaign to oust the ambassador, saying the unrest was harming the nation.

"It doesn't make any difference to France," he said in a recorded address shown on television. "If we keep protesting our whole lives we would only be damaging our own country and it will not impact (the West)."