News ID: 230535
Published: 0501 GMT August 29, 2018

Pakistani protesters call for expulsion of Dutch ambassador over blasphemous plan

Pakistani protesters call for expulsion of Dutch ambassador over blasphemous plan

Thousands of supporters of a Pakistani Islamic party have called for the expulsion of the Dutch ambassador as it launched a protest against a far-right Dutch politician's plan for a blasphemous cartoon competition depicting Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him).

Several thousand activists gathered in the eastern city of Lahore for the demonstration organized by Tehreek-e-Labbaik party on Wednesday. 

Party leader Khadim Hussain Rizvi set out from Lahore's historic center at the head of a protest he aims to take through the towns of Punjab province to the capital Islamabad. Angry protesters will stage a sit-in to pressure Pakistan's new Prime Minister Imran Khan to cut diplomatic ties with the Netherlands. 

Officials from the Punjab provincial government met with Labbaik leaders in Lahore in a vain attempt to persuade them to call off their protest, Presstv reported. 

"We told them to stop the protests because the Pakistan government is taking up the issue effectively," an official involved in the talks said, adding that Labbaik representatives insisted the protest would only end once the Dutch envoy was expelled.

"The Dutch ambassador should be immediately deported," Labbaik  spokesman Ejaz Ashrafi said, adding, "We will only stop when the government meets this demand."

Pakistan has already complained to the Dutch government about far-right parliamentarian Geert Wilders' plans for a cartoon contest that will upset the world’s Muslims.

"The Foreign Office called the charge d'affaires of the Netherlands and issued him a Demarche' to record a protest," the Pakistani prime minister's office said in a statement on Wednesday.

Pakistan’s upper house of parliament on Monday condemned the contest. Premier Khan said: “They don’t understand how much they hurt us when they do such acts.”

Pakistan's Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi said he planned to take up the issue with the United Nations and several world leaders. 

Qureshi also noted that Islamabad had written a letter to Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) to convene an emergency session against blasphemous cartoons contest in the Netherlands. 

The Netherlands Prime Minister Mark Rutte said last week that the cartoon competition "was not something I would do" and his government was not associated with it.

Wilders intends to display the cartoons on the walls of his political party's room in parliament.

Resource: presstv
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