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ISLAMABAD: Pakistan on Saturday urged the international community to end impunity for perpetrators of abominable hate speech and crimes by the extremist “Hindutva” ideology under the patronage of the BJP-RSS-led government in India.

In a statement on the eve of International Day for Countering Hate Speech, Foreign Office spokesperson Asim Iftikhar said that the day is an important occasion to renew global solidarity for combating hate speech which is the prime catalyst for hatred, inter-religious discord, discrimination, incitement to violence, and acts of violence against people and communities.

“Pakistan has been advocating for an international framework against hate speech, disinformation and balanced approach between fundamental freedom and responsibilities”, he said.

He added that the tragic hate crimes and incidents witnessed around the world are a clear verdict against those who justify hate speech, denigration and vilification of religious personalities and symbols, and derogatory remarks to hurt sentiments of minorities, as the fundamental freedom of expression or opinion.

Guided by the vision of our founding fathers, he added that Pakistan has always been at the forefront of international initiatives for promoting peace, tolerance, inter-cultural and interfaith harmony and respect, both at home and abroad.

Based on principles enshrined in our Constitution, the spokesperson stated that the government has taken a number of steps domestically for combating hate speech whilst promoting fundamental freedom.

Moreover, he added that judicial and administrative avenues have been strengthened in order to provide remedial measures to the victims of hate speech such as the establishment of National Commissions, effective implementation of Pakistan Electronic Crimes Act, strengthening of law enforcement agencies concerned with hate speech and so on. Additionally, curbing hate speech is one of the cross-cutting themes in various National Action Plans, he added.

“As we commemorate this day, we are particularly alarmed at the global resurgence in Islamophobia, xenophobia, hatred and acts of violence against minorities. Even as victims of violence belong to diverse religious minorities across the world, there is a disproportionate growth in hate speech and stigmatization of Muslim communities and individuals, leading to acts of violence”, he said.

In our own region, he added that the BJP-RSS dispensation, inspired by the extremist “Hindutva” ideology, is embarked upon a campaign to “cleanse” India of all vestiges of its Islamic heritage and making Muslims second-class citizens, even non-citizens.

“The ensuing hate speech and consequent hate crimes have reached unprecedented levels. The recent calls for Muslim “genocide”, state complicity in extra-judicial measures, and state-sponsored grave human rights abuses against Muslim protestors, in the backdrop of hate-driven derogatory remarks made towards the Holy Prophet (PBUH) by the senior BJP officials, are alarming and highly condemnable”, he pointed out, adding that the international community must end impunity for perpetrators of such abominable hate speech and crimes.

On its part, the spokesperson added that Pakistan will continue to advance the international efforts to protect individuals from hate speech and related xenophobia, intolerance, discrimination, negative stereotyping, stigmatization, violence and incitement to violence and will reinforce efforts to promote interfaith and inter-civilizational understanding and harmony.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2022

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