Pakistan rally ends after Dutch cartoon contest is canceled

Sunday, 02 Sep, 2018

"In order to avoid the danger of Islamic violence, I have decided not to hold a contest of cartoons, the safety of people is paramount", wrote Wilders.

Thousands of Pakistan's hard-line Islamists dispersed peacefully after ending their protest march near Islamabad on Friday following the cancellation of a Prophet Muhammad cartoon contest sponsored by an anti-Muslim Dutch lawmaker.

They called for the expulsion of Dutch ambassador Ardi Stoios-Braken and demanded that new Prime Minister Imran Khan's government withdraw Pakistan's ambassador and cut diplomatic ties with the Netherlands.

The contest, which was greenlighted by the Dutch counter-terrorist agency (NCTV), sparked protests across the Muslim world, as Islam strictly forbids drawings of Mohammed.

"My point about the intolerant nature of Islam has been proved again by this", he said.

Before demonstrators arrived in Islamabad, they were briefly halted by police in the town of Jhelum.

Pakistan deployed thousands of troops to protect a diplomatic enclave in the capital on August 30 as angry protesters approached Islamabad.

Wilders has a history of inflammatory statements about Islam. The party wants a halt immigration, especially from Muslim countries.

The suspect is due to be brought before a judge on Thursday, police said.

A 26-year-old man, reportedly from Pakistan, was arrested this week in The Hague after making an alleged death threat against Mr Wilders.

The anger sparked by Wilders' plans in Pakistan had prompted the Netherlands to caution citizens about travelling there and to postpone a planned trade mission to the South Asian country. The Afghan Taliban statement was issued shortly before Mr.

The Dutch government refused to take responsibility for the contest as the politician is not part of the government.

The Dutch government has distanced itself from the competition, with Prime Minister Mark Rutte clarifying that Wilders, leader of the opposition Freedom Party, is not a member of the government.

Teachers and students of an Islamic seminary "Jamia Naeemia" chant slogans condemning a cartoon contest planned by Geert Wilders, a Dutch parliamentarian, during a demonstration in Lahore, Pakistan on August 29, 2018.

The minister said everyone reserved the right to protest and that his government would provide full security to the TLP rally.

Rutte last week said he supported free speech in the Netherlands but believed the competition was "not respectful" and aimed only to provoke.