The PJ Tatler

Pakistan's Prime Minister Calls for Global Ban on Blasphemy

We have sent Pakistan $23 billion in aid over the past decade or so. What has that aid bought us?

ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Raja Pervez Ashraf Friday said the Muslim Ummah needs to stand united and seek a permanent solution to ban hate speech, that sows seeds of discord.

The Prime Minister said the Muslim world needs to work together with other countries towards a mechanism that ensures respect of the sentiments of people of all religions.

He was addressing a large gathering to mark the Youm-e-Ishq-e- Rasool (Peace Be Upon Him) here at the PM Secretariat. The day was being observed in reaction to the making of a blasphemous film about the Holy Prophet (Peace Be Upon Him), that has sparked widespread unrest across the Muslim world.

The Prime Minister said there was a need to translate the strong sentiments into a unified policy, in coordination with other Muslim countries, so that the Muslim Ummah speaks with one voice on this issue.

He said the President of Pakistan will convey the emotions and views of the people when he addresses the United Nations General Assembly in New York next week.

The Prime Minister said Pakistan was coordinating with other Muslim countries in this regard.

As the PM is undoubtedly aware, the United Nations already has a ban on blasphemy in the works. Pakistan brought it before the UN on behalf of the Organization of the Islamic Conference back in 2010.

As the PM is also undoubtedly aware, the American president is using taxpayer dollars to make the case that he and our secretary of state essentially agree on banning blasphemy. They can’t pass such a law in the US, but they can make a show of intimidating Americans who blaspheme Islam. They can also signal to Pakistan that they agree — a YouTube video is causing the riots.

I’ve come around to a different way of thinking over the past week. We were attacked in Libya and Egypt on 9-11, and the latter attack obviously had at least a go-ahead wink from the Muslim Brotherhood that rules the place now. Riots are now ongoing and directed at our embassies in probably a dozen countries we’re sending aid to. Most of these riots have the local governments’ backing in one way or another. Yet when Congress debates cutting that aid off, Secretary of State Clinton is the first to jump out there and make sure that we keep on paying.

Keep on paying, while she and the president assault our rights here, in response to threats over there.

Here’s my different way of thinking after watching the past week’s events.

We’re not sending aid to these countries. We’re paying tribute.