Wilders opts out of Pakistan trip
20 February 2007, AMSTERDAM - Geert Wilders has decided not to join other members of parliament on a trip to Pakistan and Afghanistan.
20 February 2007
AMSTERDAM - Geert Wilders has decided not to join other members of parliament on a trip to Pakistan and Afghanistan.
The faction leader for the Party for Freedom (PVV) decided this on Monday after threatening words from Pakistan. A Pakistani MP and others in the country have indicated that Wilders is not welcome.
The harsh words from Pakistan come in response to an interview Wilders gave last week in which he said that Muslims should tear out and discard half the Koran if they want to live in the Netherlands. He said that the prophet Mohammed was a radical.
“For me there’s no point in going on the trip anymore,” Wilders said, the PVV’s spokesperson on foreign affairs. The standing parliamentary committee on foreign affairs plans to visit Pakistan and Afghanistan soon. “That would have been a tiresome trip for myself and the other MPs, with demonstrations and a cordon of security people around us.”
Chairman of parliament’s standing committee on foreign affairs Hans van Baalen (Liberal VVD) laments the fact that Wilders will not be going along. “We would have liked for him to join us.” He said every faction and every MP has the right to visit other countries. “The fact that the security situation makes this impossible is a heavy burden on parliamentary democracy,” Van Baalen said. Wilders has not put forward another member of his faction to make the trip.
The National Coordinator for Anti-terrorism (NCTb) is currently reviewing whether and to what extent the safety of the Dutch delegation can be guaranteed in Pakistan and Afghanistan. A spokesperson could not say what role the possible presence of Wilders may have played in that analysis up to now. Wilders himself had not yet applied for a visa to enter Pakistan.
[Copyright Expatica + ANP 2007]
Subject: Dutch news