Pakistani doctors to boycott German medicines

6th February 2006, Comments 0 comments

6 February 2006, ISLAMABAD - Joining in a countrywide condemnation, Pakistani medical practitioners have decided to boycott medicines from firms based in European countries where derogatory cartoons featuring the Prophet Mohammed were published and reprinted.

6 February 2006

ISLAMABAD - Joining in a countrywide condemnation, Pakistani medical practitioners have decided to boycott medicines from firms based in European countries where derogatory cartoons featuring the Prophet Mohammed were published and reprinted.

"We have asked doctors not to prescribe medicines of the multinational companies with headquarters in Denmark, Germany, Switzerland, France and Norway till their governments apologize," Dr. Shahid Rao, an official of the Pakistan Medical Association (PMA), told Deutsche Presse-Agentur on Monday.

Rao, General Secretary of the body for the central Punjab province, said the decision has been made at the regional level while a nationwide boycott will be decided at a meeting scheduled for February 7.

"The body has also asked the chemists and druggists to remove medicines of these countries from their medical stores," he added.

Earlier, Prime Minister Shaukat Aziz met the visiting Italian deputy foreign minister in Islamabad and condemned the publication and reprinting of blasphemous caricatures depicting the Prophet Mohammed in the European media, an official statement said.

"Publication of these sketches has profoundly hurt the sentiments of Muslims all over the world," Aziz told Margherita Boniver, days after Pakistan formally lodged protest with at least nine European countries through their envoys in Islamabad.

Envoys from France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Switzerland, Holland, Hungary, Norway and the Czech Republic were summoned to the foreign office over the weekend and a formal note was handed to them.

"In any event, freedom of expression is not a license to hurt other peoples sentiments or disparage their values," it said.

Rejecting the pretext of freedom of press for publishing derogatory drawings, Prime Minister Aziz said that Islam and its teachings are for peace, tolerance and compassion.

"To portray the Prophet of Islam in derogatory terms hurts deeply held beliefs of Muslims," the statement quoted Aziz as telling Boniver.

He stressed that freedom of expression does not mean absence of any values, ethics or laws.

"Such acts seriously jeopardize the endeavour to enhance interfaith harmony and lead to a clash of civilizations," said the prime minister.

In Islam, criticism of Allah (God) or of the prophets is regarded as blasphemy. Images of the prophets are also forbidden in the Islamic tradition.

Blasphemy is punishable by death in many Islamic countries, including Saudi Arabia, Iran and Pakistan.

Publication and reprinting of the cartoons triggered an avalanche of indignation in Pakistan as was the case in many other Muslim countries.

The issue came to the fore last week after a Norwegian Christian magazine republished the caricatures in late January. The drawings were first published in Denmark last September 30.

Since then, other European publications, including Germany's Die Welt, Italy's La Stampa and Spain's El Periodico, republished the caricatures as a show of solidarity for the freedom of the press, but the moves triggered worldwide condemnation by Muslims.

DPA

Subject: German news

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