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Pakistan Whines to Sweden About Mohammed Sketches

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Our ally Pakistan is now getting into the “billions of offended Muslims” act, whining to the Swedish government about the dreaded roundabout dogs of blasphemy: Pakistan slams Sweden for Muhammad cartoon.

And it seems that the Swedish government is already beginning to cave in.

Pakistan has added its voice to that of Iran in condemning the publication of cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad in newspaper Nerikes Allehanda.

The Swedish Chargé d’Affaires in Islamabad was called to the Pakistani Foreign Office on Thursday for a dressing down by a government official. The move comes several days after a Swedish diplomat in Teheran was summoned by the government there to face a similar protest.

In a statement, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said Pakistan condemned the publication “in the strongest terms.”

Regrettably, the tendency among some Europeans to mix the freedom of expression with an outright and deliberate insult to 1.3 billion Muslims in the world is on the rise,” the statement said.

It went on to say that the Swedish Chargé d’Affaires said the Swedish government “fully shared the views of the Muslim community” and called the publication “unfortunate.”

Nerikes Allehanda editor Ulf Johansson told The Local that it would be “peculiar” if the Swedish Chargé d’Affaires had criticized the cartoon. Such a statement would contradict the Swedish government’s previous line of not interfering with press freedom, he said.

“We have noted this and contacted the Swedish Foreign Ministry for an explanation,” he said.

Here’s Pakistan’s official seethe.

PAKISTAN CONDEMNS THE PUBLICATION OF OFFENSIVE SKETCH IN SWEDEN

Pakistan condemns, in the strongest terms, the publication of an offensive and blasphemous sketch of the Holy Prophet (PBUH) in the Swedish newspaper “Nerikes Allehanda” in the city of Orebro. Regrettably, the tendency among some Europeans to mix the freedom of expression with an outright and deliberate insult to 1.3 billion Muslims in the world is on the rise. In the past also sketches and caricatures of this nature have been published in Europe in the name of the ‘freedom of expression’. Such acts deeply undermine the efforts of those who seek to promote respect and understanding among religions and civilizations.

Today the Swedish Charge d’Affaires was summoned to the Foreign Office by Additional Secretary (Europe) and a strong protest lodged with him. The Swedish Charge d’Affaires was told that the publication of the sketch had caused grave affront to the religious sentiments of Muslims. He was further told that the Government of Pakistan expected greater sensitivity on the part of the Swedish government on this issue. The Swedish Cd’A explained that the Swedish government fully shared the views of the Muslim community and termed the publication as unfortunate.

Pakistan will also hold consultations with the OIC to determine the future course of action against the repetition of such provocative publications. The Government of Pakistan will continue to work, with like-mined countries, in the UN to find ways of addressing the recurring issue of defamation of Islam and its sacred personalities.

Islamabad

30 August, 2007

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