Massive Protests Grip Pakistan After  Dutch Politician’s Call To Draw Caricatures Of Prophet MohammedProtest against Dutch parliamentarian Geert Wilders

Islamist leaders in Pakistan on Wednesday (29 August) called for the expulsion of the Dutch ambassador as the country witnessed widespread protests against a Dutch politician’s call for a cartoon competition on caricatures of Prophet Mohammed.

Activists gathered in the eastern city of Lahore for a demonstration organised by Tehreek-e-Labbaik, a party that amassed the fifth largest number of votes in a general election last month. Tehreek-e-Labbaik was instrumental in getting stringent blasphemy laws passed in the country and is now influential in the political sphere as well.

Khadim Rizvi, the party’s leader urged Pakistan’s new Prime Minister Imran Khan to cut diplomatic ties with the Netherlands. Protestors set out from Lahore’s historic centre at the head of a protest where he aims to take through the towns of Punjab province to the capital Islamabad, where protesters will stage a sit-in to pressurise the new government.

Pakistan has already raised concerns over Dutch parliamentarian Geert Wilders’ plans for a cartoon contest that will upset and provoke Muslims.

Wilders intends to display the cartoons on the walls of his political party’s room in Parliament. He says he’s had “hundreds” of entries. “The Foreign Office called the charge d’affaires of the Netherlands and issued him a Demarche’ to record a protest,” the Pakistan Prime Ministers Office said on Wednesday (29 August).

The Netherlands Government had earlier denied any association with the competition. Pakistan’s Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi said he planned to take up the issue with the UN and several world leaders.

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