Pakistan is continuing to take the lead against the self-confessed Islamophobe, Geert Wilders. Indeed, the Centre has lodged a formal complaint with the Netherlands over the Dutch politician’s latest blasphemous remarks; intended to incite anti-Muslim sentiment. Though it is unclear what impact this will have given that the Party for Freedom chief is leader of the opposition. Meaning the best which perhaps can be hoped for is that he receives a rap on the knuckles for having breached parliamentary decorum. In short, the push for accountability must rest with Dutch Muslims. That being said, it is only right and just that Pakistan stands up for Muslims everywhere. Yet what is disappointing is how governments of the day remain silent when it comes to Christian sentiments being hurt here at home. The latest incident involves a cartoon published by a national newspaper which took aim at the recently announced increase in power tariffs. And while it is understood that editorial positions enjoy a certain leeway when it comes to measured provocation – the depiction of two men nailed to separate crosses, symbolising the crucifixion, crossed a red-line and entered into the realm of blasphemous content. Presently, no apology from the daily in question has been forthcoming. Neither has the new political set-up condemned the misstep. To be sure, none of this signals deliberate intent. It is simply a case of minority sentiments having failed to enter into the national consciousness here in the Islamic republic. And this is quite possibly worse. For at least the likes of Mr Wilders has a political agenda; however odious. Yet in Pakistan, non-Muslims and minority sects only appear to matter in the aftermath of targeted attacks. To allow the majority to showcase their so-called liberal and progressive credentials. Or else, when it comes to demanding that minority communities demonstrate loyalty to the state; as they are relentlessly reminded that they are Pakistani first. Even when this is not vocalised outright — the message remains. Thus Christian leaders came out and condemned Wilders’ then proposed blasphemous cartoon competition. While urging the UN to take up the matter at the earliest. The bottom line is that such sentiments must be reciprocated. This means recognising that each group cherishes its religious beliefs as much as the other. And accepting that if a non-Muslim can commit blasphemy against Islam then the same must hold true for Muslims and other religions. After all, this is the only path towards pluralism in the truest sense of the word. Thus it is hoped that the Human Rights minister takes notice of the crucifixion cartoon as a matter of routine course; not as a ‘goodwill’ gesture. For Pakistan’s minorities have endured enough. They do not need repeat prescriptions of casual tokenism. Published in Daily Times, October 28th 2018.