Pakistanis to rally in capital against Dutch cartoon contest


Pakistan Senate Passes Resolution Condemning Geert Wilders’ Mohammed Cartoon Contest The Associated Press 29 Aug 2018

A planned trade mission to Pakistan for November was also postponed "until a later date", the government-run Netherlands Enterprise Agency said.

Dutch envoy to Pakistan, Ardi Stoios-Braken announced on Twitter that the Embassy team will work with fresh energy and focus on promoting the bilateral relationship with Pakistan and mutual understanding.

Dutch anti-Islam MP Geert Wilders has cancelled a planned contest inviting people to submit a cartoon of the prophet Muhammad following death threats and large-scale protests in Pakistan.

Some 10,000 supporters of the far-right religious group Tehreek-e-Labbaik, which helped Imran Khan to become prime minister following last month's national elections, set out on the march on Wednesday, calling on Khan to cut diplomatic ties with the Netherlands.

Wilders on Thursday said he has made a decision to cancel the controversial blasphemous caricatures contest after being at the receiving end of death threats.

The religiopolitical party had urged the PTI government to not only "discontinue diplomatic and commercial relations with the Netherlands" but also "demand from other Islamic countries to do the same".

A government delegation held talks with TLP leaders, after which Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi said the TLP recorded its protest over blasphemous caricatures.

Reuters reported that hours before Wilders cancelled the cartoon contest, the Afghan Taliban urged Afghan soldiers to attack Dutch troops serving in the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation mission in Afghanistan.

But Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte has distanced his government from the cartoon competition, saying it was not a government initiative.

In a video message, the premier said that he would move the Organisation of Islamic Countries (OIC) in an effort to raise the issue of blasphemous caricatures in the United Nations (UN). He said he received "hundreds" of entries.

"They don't understand how much they hurt us when they do such acts", Khan, a cricketer-turned-politician, said on Tuesday, a day after the upper house of parliament condemned the proposed cartoon competition. "Now other people are in danger because of extremist Muslims who see not only me but the Netherlands as a target".

Qureshi said Pakistan's ambassador to Holland has confirmed cancellation of the controversial contest.

The march, led by cleric and TLP founder Khadim Hussain Rizvi, began from Lahore on Wednesday and is expected to reach Islamabad in the wee hours of Friday.

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

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