Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif has called for nationwide protests on Friday to uphold the sanctity of the Holy Quran and to demonstrate against the recent incident of its desecration in Sweden.
The incident took place last week when a man, who fled from Iraq to Sweden several years ago, tore up and burned a copy of the Holy Quran outside Stockholm’s central mosque.https://www.dawn.com/news/card/1762922
The act drew strong criticism from several countries, including Pakistan, Turkiye, Jordan, Palestine, Saudi Arabia, Morocco, Iraq and Iran, as well as the European Union.
According to a statement shared by PM Shehbaz’s party, the PML-N, on Twitter, the premier presided over a meeting today during which the Sweden incident was discussed among other matters.
The prime minister decided that July 7 (Friday) would be observed as Yaum-i-Taqaddus Quran (day to uphold the Holy Quran’s sanctity) and a nationwide protest would be taken out against the Sweden incident.
The premier appealed to the entire nation, including all political parties, to participate in the protests so that the entire nation “unitedly give a message to the miscreants”, the statement said.
He also directed the PML-N to “fully participate” in the protests and take out rallies across the country, it added.
The prime minister further decided to summon a joint session of Parliament on Thursday with the objective to devise a national plan of action on the Sweden incident.
“The sentiments and feelings of the nation should be fully expressed through the forum of Parliament.
“A joint resolution should be passed in the joint session of the Parliament,” the statement quoted PM Shehbaz as saying.
According to a circular issued by the National Assembly Secretariat, the joint session has been scheduled for 3pm on Thursday.
Meanwhile, the PML-N statement quoted the PM as saying: “Honouring the Holy Quran is part of our faith, [and] we are all united for it.
“Misguided minds are following a nefarious agenda by spreading the negative trend of Islamophobia.
“Peace-loving nations and leaders around the world who believe in co-existence should block the path of violent forces victim to Islamophobia and religious prejudices.”
He further stated that “violent minds targeting religion, venerated personalities, beliefs and ideas” were a threat to world peace and forces that believed in peaceful, balanced and interfaith harmony at the global level should work together to remedy such trends and incidents.
The PM’s decision comes a day after Pakistan demanded immediate action against the perpetrator of the incident in Sweden.
PM Shehbaz, while addressing a cabinet meeting, had said the whole ummah and the government and people of Pakistan strongly condemned the sacrilegious act.
“We demand immediate action against the perpetrator,” the premier had said.
The premier had also demanded that the Swedish government take notice of the Islamophobic and hateful narrative against the Muslim population in their country.
PM Shehbaz had further appreciated the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) for convening an urgent meeting on the issue and said Pakistan endorsed the OIC’s meeting and its decision with the hope that such Islamophobic incidents would not recur in the future.
On Sunday, the OIC had called an emergency meeting and said collective measures were needed to prevent acts of desecration of the Holy Quran and that international law should be used to stop religious hatred after the burning incident in Sweden.
Separately, the PTI chairman has also called for peaceful protests on Friday against the desecration. He said the desecration had hurt the sentiments of Muslims and the nation should send a message in this regard.
UN rights council to hold urgent meeting on desecration
The PM’s decision came as a spokesman for the United Nations said the UN Human Rights Council will hold an urgent session to address the desecration following the incident in Stockholm.
The Geneva-based UN Human Rights Council, which is meeting in session until July 14, will change its agenda to stage an urgent debate, following a request from Pakistan.
“The UN Human Rights Council will hold an urgent debate to ‘discuss the alarming rise in premeditated and public acts of religious hatred, as manifested by the current desecration of the Holy Quran in some European and other countries’,” council spokesman Pascal Sim told reporters, citing the wording of the request.
“This urgent debate will be convened following a request of Pakistan, sent on behalf of several members of the OIC, including those that are members of the Human Rights Council.
“It will most likely be convened this week at a date and time to be determined by the bureau of the Human Rights Council that is meeting today,” Sim added.
There are 47 members of the Human Rights Council. The UN’s top rights body is currently in the second of its three regular sessions per year.
Khalil Hashmi, Pakistan’s ambassador in Geneva, wrote to the council president on Monday on behalf of the 19 OIC members who are also on the council, plus other OIC countries, to request an urgent debate.
Hashmi said the “provocative acts” on June 28 had been widely condemned and strongly rejected worldwide.
“These unabated incidents demand immediate action by the Human Rights Council,” he said.
While recognising the right to freedom of opinion and expression, the OIC group wants action to prevent recurrences and the development of legal deterrence measures.
The group also intends to present a draft resolution for adoption by the council members as an outcome of the debate and promised to circulate the draft text shortly.
Algeria, Malaysia, Qatar, Sudan, Somalia and the United Arab Emirates are among the 19 OIC countries on the 47-member Human Rights Council.