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Pakistan's PM Imran lauds Russian President Putin for stand against Islamophobia


Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan and Russian President Vladimir Putin held a telephonic conversation on Monday during which the premier thanked the Russian leader for his "emphatic" statement against insulting the Holy Prophet (Peace Be Upon Him).

Last month, Putin had said that insulting the Holy Prophet (PBUH) did not count as an expression of artistic freedom but was a "violation of religious freedom."

State news agency TASS reported that the Russian president also criticised the publication of blasphemous sketches of the Holy Prophet (PBUH) in French magazine Charlie Hebdo.

Such acts, the report quoted Putin as saying, gave rise to extremist reprisals. Artistic freedom had its limits and it shouldn't infringe on other's freedoms, he had added.

In a tweet on Monday, the premier said that he spoke to Putin "primarily to express my appreciation for his emphatic statement that freedom of speech could not be a pretext to abuse our Holy Prophet (PBUH)." "He is the first Western leader to show empathy and sensitivity to Muslim sentiment for their beloved Prophet (PBUH)," he added.

The premier said that the two also discussed ways to move forward on trade and other mutually beneficial cooperation between the countries. "We invited each other to visit our countries," he said.

Meanwhile, the Prime Minister's Office (PMO) also released a statement on the telephone call and said that Imran Khan "appreciated" Putin's statement.

"The prime minister stated that he has been regularly [highlighting] the appalling rise in Islamophobia and associated hatred in his addresses to the United Nations General Assembly, pointing towards its serious ramifications," the statement said.