Muslim world’s collective voice, not protests to end blasphemy: PM

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ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Imran Khan Monday said the whole Muslim world’s collective voice and threat for trade boycott could put a stop to blasphemy as protest demonstrations would damage nothing but Pakistan’s booming economy. Prime Minister was addressing the nation on television and radio.

“Will expulsion of French ambassador and cutting ties with them will stop this (blasphemy)? Is there any guarantee that no one will do it again? I know the West, if Pakistan does it (expels the French envoy), some other European country will do it again in the name of freedom of expression,” the prime minister said in his televised address to the nation.

Referring to the protest demonstrations by Tehreek-e-Labbaik Pakistan, amidst their negotiations with the government, the prime minister said the riots had killed four police personnel and injured another over 800, besides 40 police vans were gutted and damage to private properties.

He said though the objective of both the government and TLP was to get rid of the blasphemy, but the latter’s approach was counter-productive.

“When we will expel the French ambassador and cut ties (with France), it means we will cut ties with whole of European Union. This means half of our textile exports will come down. This will create unemployment and rupee will be under pressure thus creating inflation and poverty. We will be on the losing end, not France,” the prime minister remarked.

The prime minister said contrary to the TLP’s strategy of getting the demands fulfilled through agitation, he viewed that the heads of all Muslim states should make it clear at the forums in

European Union and Western states as to why the Muslims got hurt by the blasphemy.
“The West does not understand. They do not even love the prophets the way we do with our Holy Prophet (Peace Be Upon Him). Even, they are not attached to the religion (the way we are). They will have to be made it understood,” he stressed.

Imran Khan made it clear that the protest demonstrations would make a difference only to Pakistan, not France.

Currently, he said, Pakistan’s economy was on boom with its large scale industry getting better, creating jobs and wealth, and rupee getting strengthened.

The prime minister told the countrymen that for the last two and half months, the government was in negotiations with the TLP trying to make them understand that their strategy would make Pakistan suffer.