ISLAMABAD: Pakistan, on Tuesday, strongly condemned the Islamophobic incident in Canada that resulted in tragic death of four family members of Pakistani origin, in London, Ontario, as Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi described it as a clear example of Islamophobia and terrorism.
“We strongly condemn the Islamophobic incident that resulted in the tragic death of four family members of Pakistani origin, in London, Ontario. Our thoughts and prayers are with the victims and their families,” the Foreign Office said in a statement.
Canadian police have arrested 20-year-old, identified as Nathanial Veltman, who on Sunday evening, slammed his pick-up truck into five members of a Canadian Muslim family of Pakistani origin, belonging to Lahore, killing four – a 74-year-old woman, a 46-year-old man, a 44-year-old woman, and a 15-year-old girl – while injuring a nine-year-old boy of the same family.
“This tragic incident is yet another manifestation of the systematic rise in Islamophobia,” it stated, adding that the Canadian Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, has stated that Islamophobia has no place in any of their communities.
It was further stated that events such as these further reinforce the imperative for the international community to work together for interfaith harmony and peaceful coexistence.
It stated that the High Commission for Pakistan in Ottawa and the Consulate General in Toronto are in close contact with the relevant Canadian authorities to ascertain the facts of the case and to ensure that the perpetrators of this heinous act are brought to justice.
“Our Consul General in Toronto also visited the family of the deceased to offer sympathies and condolences and all possible assistance,” it added.
Meanwhile, Canadian High Commissioner to Pakistan Wendy Gilmour held a meeting with Foreign Minister Qureshi in which the tragic incident of killing of four members of a Pakistani-origin family in Canada and issues of mutual interest as well as the growing trend of Islamophobia in the West came under discussion.
Talking to her, Qureshi said that the killing of a Pakistani-origin family in Canada is a clear example of Islamophobia and terrorism, according to a statement released by the media team of the foreign minister.
Qureshi also welcomed the “positive” response to the incident by Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau who in a tweet stated that “Islamophobia has no place in any of our communities.”
The foreign minister was further quoted to have told the Canadian High Commissioner that the growing hatred against Muslims in the West is a testament to the existence of Islamophobia, and emphasised on the urgent need for an effective global action against Islamophobia.
It added that the Canadian High Commissioner expressed grief and sorrow over the tragic incident and assured the foreign minister that the Canadian government would hold a thorough investigation into the incident and take a stern action against those responsible.
In an earlier statement, Foreign Minister Qureshi urged the Prime Minister to play his role in restoring the confidence of Muslims residing in Canada by taking steps for their protection.
“As Foreign Minister of Pakistan, I will urge the Canadian Prime Minister that this is a test of their society,” Qureshi said.
Copyright Business Recorder, 2021