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UNGA Adopts Pakistan-Sponsored Resolution On Respect For ‘Sacred Religious Symbols’

The United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) has adopted Pakistan’s sponsored resolution on inter-religious dialogue that emphasized the need to respect “sacred religious symbols.”

Pakistan had urged the UN to play its role in ensuring respect for all religions and stop blasphemy under the name of freedom of speech.

The resolution has been adopted by the UNGA. The resolution received a majority of 90 votes, none against, with 52 abstentions, reported APP.

“Facing strong opposition from the powerful western bloc mainly based on freedom of expression, the Pakistan Mission worked hard to rally the OIC [Organization of Islamic Cooperation] and other developing countries to garner support for the inclusion of new elements in the resolution,” APP.

Pakistan’s Ambassador to the UN, Munir Akram, referred to Prime Minister Imran Khan’s repeated calls to the international community and the United Nations to counter Islamophobia and promote respect for religious sensitivities.

“Ambassador Akram also emphasized that the deliberate “vilification and negative stereotyping of adherents of one of the largest religions in the world –Islam — only perpetuates dangerous self-fulfilling prophecies such as the ‘clash of civilizations’ and must be addressed on an urgent basis,” APP quoted Pakistani Ambassador.

“After some intensive lobbying, the resolution acknowledges — for the first time — the significance and respect for religious symbols,” the state news agency added.

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“It also stressed that the exercise of the right to freedom of expression carries with it special duties and responsibilities, and must therefore be subjected to legitimate restrictions.”

“The resolution condemned any advocacy of religious hatred that constitutes incitement to violence or discrimination,” APP said, “and underlines the importance of interreligious and intercultural dialogue as a valuable tool for promoting social cohesion, and peace and development in the world.”

Federal Minister for Maritime Affairs Ali Zaidi in his tweet congratulated PM Imran Khan for highlighting the issue at the international level.

Saman Siddiqui

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