TLP calls off rally in Islamabad after cancellation of anti-Islam cartoon contest

Hundreds of protesters led by the Tehreek-e-Labaik Pakistan (TLP) party are marching toward Islamabad to register their protest against an anti-Islam cartoon contest announced by a Dutch parliamentarian Geert Wilders. (Photo courtesy: social media)
Updated 31 August 2018

TLP calls off rally in Islamabad after cancellation of anti-Islam cartoon contest

  • Tehreek-e-Labbaik Pakistan (TLP) called off its protest rally in Islamabad late Thursday night after Dutch lawmaker announced to cancel a planned 'blasphemous' caricatures contest in Netherlands
  • TLP leadership said their demand and mission has been achieved through the protest rally

ISLAMABAD: Tehreek-e-Labbaik Pakistan (TLP) called off its protest rally in Islamabad late Thursday night after Dutch anti-Islam lawmaker announced to cancel a planned blasphemous caricatures contest in Netherlands.

“I have decided not to let the cartoon contest go ahead,” Geert Wilders said in a written statement on Thursday night.

Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) government has termed it a victory of the nation as it was made possible through diplomatic efforts on directions of Prime Minister Imran Khan.

“Cancellation of the cartoon contest in Netherlands is a great victory of Pakistani people and the government. Foreign Office’s efforts on the issue helped achieve this success,” Fawad Chaudhry, federal information minister, tweeted this shortly after Wilders announced to cancel the contest.

Earlier, thousands of protesters led by the TLP’s wheelchair-bound chief Khadim Hussain Rizvi had reached Islamabad and they were pressing the government to sever diplomatic relations with the Dutch government over the issue.

A government delegation led by Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi held talks with the TLP leadership in Islamabad following announcement of the cancellation of the blasphemous caricatures contest and succeeded in convincing them to call off their protest.

“Holland’s ambassador to Pakistan has confirmed to me cancellation of the controversial contest,” Qureshi said while talking to media persons. “We will still raise the issue in the United Nations and request our TLP brothers to disperse peacefully.”

Shortly after the Qureshi’s press talk, Khadim Rizvi announced to call off the protest rally, saying “thank God, our demand and mission have been achieved.”

Rizvi directed his followers to disperse peacefully, thanking them for coming out “for a noble cause.”

Earlier later Thursday night, Prime Minister Imran Khan also said in a video statement that “The matter of blasphemous caricature is an issue of every Muslim.” “We will stage a strong protest and will tell them (the West) that such acts hurt over a billion people of the world. It's unacceptable.”

Pakistan’s parliament has already unanimously condemned Wilders’ plans to hold the anti-Islam cartoon contest which encourages participants to draw caricatures of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH).







OIC offers scholarships under education exchange program

Updated 14 November 2019

OIC offers scholarships under education exchange program

  • The scheme is highly beneficial for Pakistani students, says the HEC chairman
  • COMSTECH spends $250,000 annually on scholarships for Muslim countries

ISLAMABAD: The Organization of Islamic Cooperation’s education exchange program was highly beneficial since it allowed students to engage with scholars and experts in other countries, Chairman Higher Education Commission (HEC) of Pakistan Dr. Tariq Banuri told Arab News on Thursday.
The commission recently advertised on its website the Turkish Cypriot Government’s scholarships under the OIC Educational Exchange Program, starting the next academic year.
According to the details provided by the HEC, five students from OIC member states, including Pakistan, would avail the opportunity to study at the undergraduate, graduate and postgraduate levels in the participating universities.
“Such international learning and knowledge propel students toward acceptance and understanding of an array of different cultural and community perspectives,” Dr. Banuri told Arab News on the phone, adding the exchange programs brought additional skills, cultural diversity and exposure to other problems and issues.
The HEC chairman informed that the competition for such scholarships was growing, noting that programs like these increased an individual’s “capability to compete in the global job market, created potential contacts for collaborative research and resulted in additional certifications and degrees.”
In order to promote dialogue among civilizations and to provide academic links between the 57 OIC member states, the international organization had started an education exchange program in 2005 which became fully operational in 2015.
Dr. Qasim Jan, adviser to the OIC Standing Committee on Scientific & Technological Cooperation (COMSTECH) Islamabad, told Arab News that there was an immense need to promote cooperation in the field of education among Islamic countries, and the OIC education exchange program was a positive step in that direction.
“Education, especially in science and other technological disciplines, has become a nation’s basic need since a country’s economy is directly associated with technological developments in the modern world,” he noted. “If we look at developed economies like Japan, Singapore, Hong Kong and other western European countries, they do not have much resources but are economic powers due to the knowledge economy that mostly derives from scientific education.”
Dr. Jan said that COMSTECH was providing substantial support to OIC member states in the field of science and technology. He also informed that his organization was contributing in the development of human resource to serve the Muslim world.
“We are spending $250,000 on scholarships annually which are provided to students from 57 Islamic countries,” he continued. “We have also been arranging trainings and workshops for people belonging to the OIC member states. The bulk of our budget comes from the Pakistan government, though we also get financial support from some OIC member countries, including Saudi Arabia and Malaysia.”