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.

Pakistan to confer honorary citizenship on Darren Sammy

Updated 2 min 4 sec ago

Pakistan to confer honorary citizenship on Darren Sammy

  • The former West Indies skipper is leading Peshawar Zalmi, one of the best T-20 teams in the country
  • The decision tells the world that people of Pakistan speak the language of love, says Zalmi owner

KARACHI: Pakistan’s President Arif Alvi will confer the highest civilian award and honorary citizenship on Darren Sammy, the former captain of West Indian cricket team, who is leading Peshawar Zalmi in Pakistan Super League T20 tournament.

The announcement was made by the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) in a twitter post on Saturday.

“President of Pakistan @ArifAlvi will confer the highest civilian award and honorary citizenship to Darren Sammy on 23 March for his invaluable contribution to cricket in Pakistan,” the board tweeted.

“By awarding Darren Sammy, President Arif Alvi has given a message to the world that the people of this country speak the language of love and peace,” Javed Afridi, owner of Peshawar Zalmi, told Arab News after the announcement.

The decision, he said in a twitter post, is the refection of the president’s love for cricket and Pakistan.

Afridi said that his team, Peshawar Zalmi, was the first whose skipper had been awarded the highest civilian award of the country.

The Pakistan cricket team used Dubai as its home ground for international matches after a terrorist attack against the Sri Lankan cricket squad on March 3, 2009.

The Pakistan Super League, one of the top T-20 leagues in the world, was also launched in Dubai in 2016, and all its matches were played in the United Arab Emirates. However, the final contest of the second edition in 2017 was played in Lahore at the Qaddafi Stadium Lahore in which Darren Sammy played in important role for his side.

This is year, all PSL matches are played in Pakistan. The tournament’s opening ceremony was held in Karachi on Thursday while the final match will be played at Lahore’s Qaddafi stadium on March 22.

The next day, Sammy will receive his award and honorary citizenship of the country.

“Darren Sammy has done a great deal for the return of cricket in Pakistan,” Afridi said, adding, “We are happy that he has been appreciated for it.”