Imran Khan wants to take up the issue of Dutch cartoons at UN

Updated 28 August 2018

Imran Khan wants to take up the issue of Dutch cartoons at UN

  • The prime minister said it was not right to hurt the sentiment of any community, regardless of their faith
  • The Dutch prime minister has already distanced himself from Geert Wilders’ initiative

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan pledged on Monday to take up at the United Nations the issue of a cartoon competition, announced by a rightwing, anti-Islam politician in the Netherlands who wants the participants to make mocking images of Prophet Muhammad.

Khan was talking to the upper house, the senate, after the house passed unanimously a resolution against a blasphemous cartoon competition.

Khan described the recurrence of such incidents in Europe as a “collective failure” of Muslim countries, adding it was important to galvanize them to tackle the challenge and present a unified perspective on the subject to the international community.

In his maiden speech to the Senate as the country’s prime minister, Khan emphasized the need to deal with the issue at the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC).

He questioned the notion of freedom of expression in such matters, highlighting its limitations in Europe itself where it is not legally permissible in certain countries to deviate from the officially accepted accounts of the Jewish holocaust.

Khan said it was not right to hurt the sentiment of any community, regardless of their faith.

He noted that it was also imperative for others to honor Muslim sensitivities in the same spirit since it was difficult for the follower of Islam to tolerate mocking depictions of their Prophet.

Geert Wilders, leader of the Dutch Freedom Party, had pledged to hold the cartoon competition at his party’s parliamentary offices, claiming: “Freedom of speech is threatened, especially for Islam critics. We should never accept that. Freedom of speech is our most important freedom.”

More recently, Pakistan’s Foreign Office had summoned the charge d’affaires of Netherlands to register “strong protest” against the idea of holding such a contest.

Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte has already claimed that Wilders is “not a member of the government,” adding that the competition is not an official initiative.

Pakistani PM names army chief to new national development council

Updated 18 June 2019

Pakistani PM names army chief to new national development council

  • New body will formulate policies, approve long-term planning, provide guidelines for regional cooperation
  • The formal inclusion of the army chief in a development policy-making body is an unprecedented move

ISLAMABAD: Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan has approved the establishment of a new high-powered government body, the National Development Council (NDC), of which the country’s all-powerful army chief will be a member, a federal government notification issued on Tuesday said.
The memo said Khan would chair the eleven-member council comprising federal ministers, provincial chief ministers and federal secretaries. Army chief General Qamar Javed Bajwa’s formal inclusion in the body is unprecedented even by Pakistani standards, a country in which the military has ruled for almost half its history.
The council includes the Federal Minister for Foreign Affairs, Federal Minister for Finance/Adviser to the Prime Minister on Finance, Federal Minister for Planning, Development & Reform, Federal Minister for Commerce/Adviser to the Prime Minister on Commerce, Industries & Production and Investment, Secretary to the Prime Minister, Secretary Foreign Affairs Division, Secretary, Finance Division, Secretary, Planning, Development & Reforms Division and the four provincial chief ministers.
The Azad Jammu and Kashmir Prime Minister, and the chief minister of Gilgit-Baltistan will be also be members of the body on invitation. The additional secretary of the Prime Minister’s Office will be the secretary of the council.
Defining the terms of reference (ToRs) of the council, the notification said it would set “policies and strategies for development, formulate and trailer policies to achieve accelerate economic growth, approve long term planning for national and regional connectivity and provide guidelines for regional cooperation.”