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Harming Pakistan won’t make a difference to West: PM Khan

Urges restraint in televised address with the nation

SAMAA | - Posted: Apr 19, 2021 | Last Updated: 4 weeks ago
SAMAA |
Posted: Apr 19, 2021 | Last Updated: 4 weeks ago

Prime Minister Imran Khan has said that harming one’s own country would not make a difference to the West.

He was addressing the nation on calls to expel the French ambassador and subsequent violence in the country.

PM Khan said last week’s unfortunate events made him decide to come before the nation. “Our country was formed for Islam,” he said. “Our Holy Prophet (PBUH) is in their hearts and whenever anyone in the world insults Him (PBUH), it pains us, it pains Muslims across the world.”

The prime minister said that last week, a group felt that it loved the Prophet (PBUH) more than others. “We are like them, we do not want any country to blaspheme against Prophet (PBUH),” he said. “Our methods are different. We are trying that this should never happen.”

He said the Tehreek-e-Labbaik Pakistan demanded the government sever ties with France and expel its ambassador after what happened there.

PM Khan explained how his government’s method was different from the TLP. “The goal is the same,” he said. “No one should dare insult Him (PBUH).”

He said this was the time for the nation to unite, promising not to disappoint the nation and Muslims across the world.

The prime minister said all Muslim countries would have to convey their concerns to the West. "If all Muslim states said this together, then this would have an impact."

PM Khan said he would himself lead this campaign. He regretted that political parties voiced their support of the protests to "spread chaos".

He said Indian media outlets kept running fake stories on the issue, whereas around 70% of the 400,000 tweets came from fake accounts.

The Pakistan premier said coronavirus patients could not get oxygen because of road blockades and public property worth millions was gutted.

He said the country was developing after a long time and the rupee was strengthening against dollar.

“After every few years, someone in the West blasphemes against Prophet Muhammad (PBUH),” PM Khan said, adding that the approach of street protests has not made a difference and the same is the TLP is doing.

“Would sending the French ambassador back and severing ties with them stop all of this,” he asked. “Is there any guarantee that no one would blaspheme against Him (PBUH) after that?

“There are quite a few Jews in the world, but they came together and told the world media that nothing negative should be said against the Holocaust,” he noted. “Today the western media cannot say anything against it in any country.”

There are four European countries where one can be jailed for denying the Holocaust, according to the Pakistan premier.

“Can't we remind them of this that how much it pains us,” he remarked. “And we can only do this collectively.”

PM Khan said when Muslims stage street demonstrations, the West considers it a protest against freedom of expression.

“And then they deliberately do mischiefs to pain us, instead of understanding it,” he said.

The prime minister said all the Muslim countries should come together and convey their concerns to Western states.

He promised to himself lead the effort and urged restraint in anti-France protests.

Rioting has rocked the country for the past week since the leader of the outlawed Tehreek-e-Labbaik Pakistan was detained after calling for a march on the capital to evict France's top diplomat.

On Sunday, 11 police officers were seized by protesters during clashes and held for hours at a mosque, where hundreds of TLP supporters are still gathered.

The group has waged an anti-France campaign for months since President Emmanuel Macron defended the right of a satirical magazine in Paris to republish blasphemous caricatures of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH).

France's embassy, which last week sent an urgent advisory recommending French nationals and companies leave the country, sent out a fresh alert Monday telling its citizens to avoid gatherings.

The government is due to hold another round of negotiations with TLP leaders Monday evening, in a bid to quell the unrest.

PM Khan said a week of protests had caused major disruption to cities, damaged property and left several police officers dead. Lahore police had earlier put the death toll at six.

TLP leaders say several of the party's supporters have also been killed and many wounded in clashes.

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