In statement, spokesperson says freedom of speech does not justify religious hatred
Pakistan’s Foreign Office on Sunday strongly condemned the reported recent burning of copies of the holy Quran in Sweden and Norway, with a statement saying that “freedom of speech can’t justify religious hatred.”
Spokesperson Zahid Hafeez Chaudhri, in a series of posts on Twitter, said that the rise of such “Islamophobic occurrences goes against the spirit of any religion.” He also urged the European nations to take action against the perpetrators.
“Ensuring respect for religious beliefs of others is a collective responsibility and is absolutely critical for global peace and prosperity,” he added.
The Foreign Office statement followed a riot in the Swedish town of Malmo on Saturday, when a protest of around 300 people demonstrating against anti-Islam activities devolved into violence. According to eyewitnesses, protesters threw objects at police officers and set car tyres on fire after right-wing extremists burned a copy of the Quran.
A local daily reported that on Friday, three men had also kicked around a copy of the Quran in a public square.
Separately, an anti-Islam protest in Oslo, Sweden on Saturday saw a protester tearing out pages of the Quran and spitting on them.
Also on Sunday, Pakistan condemned the use of tear gas and pellet guns by Indian authorities on Muslims participating in a Muharram procession in India-held Kashmir.
In a statement, spokesperson Chaudhri said the illegal and indiscriminate use of pellets had caused injuries among dozens of Kashmiris, with some sustaining eye injuries that have left them permanently blind. “Indian occupation forces in occupied Kashmir have been using pellet guns and lethal cartridges since 2010 resulting in a large number of deaths and grievous injuries to thousands of Kashmiris, including women and children,” he said, adding youth were the primary targets of this campaign.
At least 40 people were injured after Indian forces opened fire on the demonstrators on Saturday.
The Foreign Office statement said that indiscriminate targeting of civilians with pellet guns was a clear violation of human rights and humanitarian law. “The government of India is in clear violation of the U.N. basic principles on the use of force and firearms by law enforcement officials and the U.N. code of conduct for law enforcement officials,” said Chaudhri, adding that the Bharatiya Janata Party leadership was “directly responsible” for the violence.
The spokesperson urged the international community to remain cognizant of human rights violations in occupied Kashmir and “use all the tools at its disposal to hold India accountable.” He added: “India must be made to fully comply with its international legal obligations.”