Dutch ambassador to return to Pakistan after Wilders row: report

In this file photo, Dutch populist politician Geert Wilders during a press conference in The Hague, Netherlands. (AP)
Updated 26 January 2019

Dutch ambassador to return to Pakistan after Wilders row: report

  • Dutch Foreign Minister had said in November that Stoios-Braken faced "threats"
  • Netherlands last year granted a temporary stay to a Pakistani lawyer who saved Asia Bibi

THE HAGUE: The Dutch ambassador to Pakistan is to return to Islamabad next month after receiving a death threat last year, reportedly from Islamists angry over anti-Islam tweets by far-right politician Geert Wilders, Dutch media said Saturday.
Ardi Stoios-Braken "will fly back to Islamabad in early February," the daily tabloid Algemeen Dagblad reported.
She was on leave in the Netherlands in late October last year when she received word "that a letter arrived at the embassy from Pakistani authorities."
"The letter spoke of a 'specific threat' and was related to the Mohammed cartoon contest which had already been cancelled months before," the paper said.
Dutch Foreign Minister Stef Blok said in November that Stoios-Braken, a veteran diplomat, faced "threats" in Pakistan, apparently over "blasphemous depictions" by Wilders on Twitter.
Wilders in August called off a planned Prophet Mohammed cartoon competition that stirred anger in Pakistan.
Pakistan's interior ministry in October wrote a secret memo on plans to "target" the Dutch ambassador by the hardline Islamist Tehreek-e-Labaik Pakistan party (TLP), media from both countries reported at the time.
The TLP, founded in 2015, led protests in August calling for Pakistan to sever diplomatic relations with the Netherlands over the Wilders cartoon contest.
The TLP has denied making any threats.
Meanwhile the Netherlands last year granted a temporary stay to a Pakistani lawyer who saved Asia Bibi, a Christian woman convicted of blasphemy, from death row.
The country accorded Saif-ul-Malook the temporary stay after he fled Islamabad when violence erupted following the Pakistani Supreme Court's acquittal of Bibi on the charges.
The Pakistani government has since launched a crackdown on the TLP, charging its leaders with sedition and terrorism.
But authorities also struck a deal with the protesters to end the violence, forming an agreement which included allowing a final review of the Supreme Court's judgement.
Pakistan's Supreme Court will decide next week whether to allow an appeal against Bibi's acquittal, a lawyer involved in the case said.


Pakistani jailed for Dutch anti-Islam MP murder plot

Updated 18 November 2019

Pakistani jailed for Dutch anti-Islam MP murder plot

  • A Dutch court found the 27-year-old guilty of ‘planning a murder with a terrorist motive’
  • The judge added four years in jail to the six years sought by the prosecution

THE HAGUE: A Dutch court sentenced a Pakistani man to 10 years behind bars Monday for planning to assassinate a politician Geert Wilders after the MP announced an anti-Islam cartoon competition.
The man, identified as Junaid I. by local media, was arrested in August 2018 at a train station in The Hague after he posted a film on Facebook in which he said he wanted to “send Wilders to hell” and urged others to help.
Judges at The Hague’s district court found the 27-year-old man, who had traveled from France, guilty of “planning a murder with a terrorist motive” and “incitement to commit a terrorist deed.”
“The suspect more than once said that Wilders’ death would be a good deed,” said presiding judge Jan van Steen, who added four years in jail to the six years sought by the prosecution.
“Furthermore, the suspect wanted to commit the murder in one of the parliamentary buildings, the heart of Dutch democracy,” Van Steen said, adding “the court is alarmed that the suspect... declared that this case will boost his image in Pakistan.”
The suspect had denied any terror-related motives.
He said during the trial that he was “peace-loving” and had only traveled to the Netherlands from France to protest against Wilders’ cartoon competition.
The Facebook video was seen by more than 153,000 people and shared 14,000 times.
Far-right leader Wilders canceled his plans two days later to stage a cartoon competition against the Prophet of Islam, a move that angered many Muslims, particularly in Pakistan where protests were led by the hard-line Islamist Tehreek-e-Labaik Pakistan party.
Wilders, 56, known for his peroxide bouffant hairdo and firebrand anti-immigration and anti-Islamist statements, lives in a safe house and has been granted 24-hour protection by the Dutch state.
The court did not say how Junaid I. planned to kill Wilders but found that in a bugged phone call after his arrest he said he took “specific things with him... without which his mission would not be complete.”
He had also walked round with a “large backpack, which he did not have when he was arrested” and lied about what it contained, the judges said.
A day after Wilders announced the cancelation, an Afghan man stabbed two American tourists at Amsterdam’s main train station. The man, who said he wanted to “protect the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH),” was last month sentenced to 26 years in jail.