FM tells Dutch counterpart to exercise freedom of expression responsibly


Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi told his Dutch counterpart Stef Bloc on Monday that the freedom of expression must be exercised responsibly.

Qureshi, who is in New York to represent Islamabad in the 73rd United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) session met his Dutch counterpart on the sidelines. He appreciated the timely steps taken by the two governments to cancel the blasphemous caricature contest in the Netherlands last month, said an official statement.

Dutch anti-Islam lawmaker Geert Wilders had canceled the controversial blasphemous caricatures contest after being at the receiving end of death threats.

Prime Minister Imran Khan had earlier said that the cartoon competition was hurting the religious sensibilities of the Muslim diaspora and vowed that the government would leave no stone unturned in raising the matter at international forums.

Foreign Minister Qureshi had termed the cancellation of the contest a “great moral victory for the Muslim Ummah”.

In Monday’s meeting, FM Qureshi also stressed upon promoting economic cooperation, trade and investment between the two countries.

During his stay in the United States, he will also meet foreign ministers from various countries.

A meeting with US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is also scheduled for October 2. The high-level huddle with the US diplomat is one of the top agendas of Qureshi’s week-long visit to the US which is aimed at following up on the progress made in the former’s visit to Islamabad earlier.