FO slams 'biased and bigoted' anti-Quran Dutch film -Pakistan Press Foundation (PPF)

Paksitan Press Foundtion

FO slams ‘biased and bigoted’ anti-Quran Dutch film

ISLAMABAD: The Foreign Office on Wednesday termed Dutch filmmaker Geert Wilders’ anti-Quran film ‘biased and bigoted’ and said it was aimed at maligning Islam and had nothing to do with the freedom of expression. A Foreign Office spokesman said the film would harm inter-cultural understanding and could promote Xenophobia in Europe.

“Wilder’s anti-Quran film reflects his biased, bigoted thinking. It has nothing to do with the right of freedom of expression as [a] distinction must be made between freedom and [the] licence to insult,” said Foreign Office (FO) spokesman Muhammad Sadiq at the weekly press briefing.

Sadiq said the Dutch ambassador to Pakistan had attended a meeting at the Foreign Office, at which a demarche had been registered. The ambassador had emphasised that the majority of the Dutch population did not share the views of the filmmaker, he said. Pakistani officials appreciated the Dutch government’s official response to the issue, he added.

No US troops: Asked about US troops in Pakistan, the FO spokesman denied that US combat troops had a presence in the country, but reiterated that Pakistan and the US were cooperating in intelligence-sharing and training Pakistani troops for the war against terrorism.

Prisoners: On the release of the Indian prisoner who had languished in Pakistani prisons on death row for 35 years, he said Kashmir Singh had been released on a purely humanitarian and not reciprocal basis. But, he expressed hope that Pakistani prisoners who had served their terms in Indian jails would also be released.

Sadiq said there were 450 Pakistanis and 500 Indians in the each other’s jails, adding that the Indo-Pak judicial committee was trying to resolve the matter.

To a question on Pakistanis being held prisoner at Guantanamo Bay, Sadiq said there had initially been 60 Pakistanis at the prison but most had been released, and only half a dozen were still being detained there.

Asked about India’s test firing a surface-to-surface nuclear-capable missile from sea,

Sadiq said India had informed Pakistan prior to the test, but warned that the induction of new weapon systems in the region would have an adverse impact on socio-economic progress.

The FO spokesman announced that Pakistan and Iran had agreed to start a bus service in the near future, and that a private company would take up the venture. The plan is to run at least 10 buses a day to cater to the more than 400 Pakistanis that travel to Iran daily, he said.

On new UN sanctions on Iran, Sadiq said Pakistan was opposed to any coercive measures that could further escalate tension in the region. Moreover, Pakistan recognised Iran’s right to the peaceful use of nuclear energy, he added. He did, however, encourage the Islamic republic to fulfil its international obligations under the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT).

He also said that 36 Pakistanis were currently being held in Iran. The Pakistani Embassy in Tehran and the Consulate in Zahidan were actively pursuing the case, attempting to locate and bring the Pakistani citizens back, he said.
Source: Daily Times
Date:3/6/2008