ISLAMABAD, Pakistan: As the International Day for Countering Hate Speech is being observed on Saturday, Pakistan has joined the international community in commemorating the Day.
In a statement, the Spokesperson of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Asim Iftikhar Ahmad said that the International Day for Countering Hate Speech 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.
The Spokesperson said that Pakistan has been advocating for an international framework against hate speech, disinformation and balanced approach between fundamental freedoms and responsibilities. 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.
Asim Iftikhar said that guided by the vision of our founding fathers, Pakistan has always been at the forefront of international initiatives for promoting peace, tolerance, inter-cultural and inter-faith harmony and respect, both at home and abroad. Based on principles enshrined in our Constitution, the government has taken a number of steps domestically for combating hate speech whilst promoting fundamental freedoms.
Moreover, 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.
Moreover, curbing hate speech is one of the cross-cutting themes in various National Action Plans.
The Spokesperson further said that 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.
In our own region, 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 Spokesperson said that the recent calls for Muslim ‘genocide’, state complicity in extra-judicial measures, and state-sponsored grave human rights abuses against Muslims 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.
The international community must end impunity for perpetrators of such abominable hate speech and crimes, he said.
Asim Iftikhar Ahmad said that on its part, 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 inter-faith and inter-civilzational understanding and harmony.