Pakistani jailed for Dutch anti-Islam MP murder plot

Opponents of the right-wing Party for Freedom (PVV) hold a counter-campaign in the center of Dordrecht, the Netherlands, on February 17, 2018, as the party's leader Geert Wilders campaigns for the municipal elections. (AFP/File)
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.

US ready to help Pakistan, India over Kashmir – Trump

Updated 22 January 2020

US ready to help Pakistan, India over Kashmir – Trump

  • Says Washington has never been closer with Islamabad as ‘we are right now’
  • PM Khan says Kabul was the main issue as it concerned both countries

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan’s Prime Minister Imran Khan met with US President Donald Trump on the sidelines of the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland on Tuesday where the two discussed the Afghan peace process and the ongoing situation in Kashmir.

In a brief address to the media, Trump said that the US is watching the developments between India and Pakistan over Kashmir “very closely”, and that Washington was prepared to help in the matter, if necessary.

“We were talking about Kashmir in relation to what’s going on with Pakistan and India that we can help, so certainly we’ll be helping. We are watching (developments) and following very closely,” Trump said, without adding any further details.

Khan, for his part, said that Afghanistan had been the “main issue... because it concerns the US and Pakistan.”

“Both of us are interested in peace there and an orderly transition in Afghanistan with talks with the Taliban and the government,” he said.

When questioned whether he would be including Pakistan in his itinerary during his scheduled trip to India, Trump said: “Well, we are meeting right now. I wanted to say hello,” before quickly adding that both US and Pakistan are getting along very well and “have never been closer than we are right now.”

Khan arrived in Davos on Tuesday where he is expected to hold talks with several world leaders on the sidelines of the forum which ends on January 23. His meeting with Trump was the third leadership-level interaction between Pakistan and the US since Khan’s visit to Washington in July last year.

He is visiting Davos on the invitation of Professor Klaus Schwab, Founder and Executive Chairman of the WEF and is being accompanied by Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi, Adviser on Commerce Abdul Razaq Dawood, and his special assistants Syed Zulfiqar Abbas Bukhari and Dr. Moeed Yusuf for the trip.

According to a statement released on Tuesday, Khan is expected to give a keynote address during a special session of the WEF, in addition to interacting with CEOs and corporate leaders at the Pakistan Strategy Dialogue meet.

He will also speak to senior international journalists and editors during a session with the WEF’s International Media Council.

The significance of his visit was further highlighted by a Time Magazine cover — which features the Pakistani premier alongside four other world leaders in the publication’s special edition of the WEF — which released on Monday.

This year marks the 50th anniversary of the WEF.

Khan’s office said that in keeping with this milestone, political leaders, business executives, heads of international organizations and civil society representatives will deliberate on contemporary economic, geopolitical, social and environmental issues.