Bold stand of the Prime Minister Imran Khan on the planned blasphemous cartoons competition, to be held in Netherlands, hectic diplomacy of the Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Querishi and his team of Foreign Office officers has paid dividend. Dutch anti-Islam law maker Greet Wilder decided to cancel the controversial blasphemous caricatures contest. In a statement Wilder said he has decided not to let the cartoons contest go. The leader of the far right party ‘Freedom,’ in the past has also called for mosques and Islamic Schools to be shut down and for a blatant ban on Muslim immigrants.
This is the first instance over the past 13 years that a government in Pakistan has taken a bold and principled stand with follow up proactive diplomacy on issues that pained the hearts of 125 billion Muslims living in 50 plus Islamic countries. The foreign minister conveyed to his Dutch counterpart the anguish, indignation and outrage of the government and people of Pakistan in a telephone conversation. This is what a genuine made in Pakistan leadership does. He also remained active to revive and galvanize the unity in the rank and file of Organisation of Islamic Countries (OIC) on this very sensitive issue. He succeeded in persuading the leadership of Tehrik-e-Labaik Pkistan (TLP) to call off its protest march to Islamabad after Wilder’s announcement to cancel the mischievous contest. The cancellation of Islamabad rally was announced by party spokes person Pir Afzal Qadari after talks with foreign minister.
In his media talk, the foreign minister congratulated the nation on their moral victory and termed the cancellation a diplomatic victory for Pakistan. The achievement dissolves in thin air the false impression being created by a subjective analyst of a media house about the foreign policy of PTI government. He wrote in his column titled “On the external front,” while foreign policy may not be the top priority for the new government, the challenges on the foreign front are no less important. The backtracking of Dutch government on sensitive issue in the wake of government’s diplomacy suffice that Prime Minister ImranKhan and his dedicated team have the determination, diplomatic spine and capability to confront all the challenges that come their way on the external front.