Following violent anti-French protests earlier this week, on Thursday, April 15, France temporarily advised its compatriots and French companies to leave Pakistan. “As there are serious threats to French interests in Pakistan, French nationals and French companies are recommended to leave the country temporarily.”, Said the French Embassy.
Anti-French sentiment has grown in Pakistan since President Emmanuel Macron defended the right to cartoons in the name of freedom of expression while paying tribute. Following the weekly reprinting of the Prophet’s portrayals of the Prophet, a teacher named Samuel Patti was killed on October 16 after showing his class satirical drawings. Charlie Hebdo.
Sur Twitter, le hashtag #FrenchLeavePakistan (“French, leave Pakistan”) was used in 42,000 tweets on Thursday.
The radical Islamist party Tehreek-e-Labaik (DLP) partially blocked the two major cities of Lahore and Karachi and the capital Islamabad earlier this week, demanding the expulsion of the French ambassador. Demonstrations were violently suppressed by police, with at least two people killed on the side of the police. The Pakistani government on Wednesday issued a statement to the DLP.
Security has been beefed up at the French embassy in Islamabad, the Agency France-Presse (AFP) correspondent reported on Thursday. Containers of the ship were attached to the outer wall of the compound to secure access, and the paramilitary Rangers were stationed nearby.
In 2020, 445 people were registered in the French population living in Pakistan, which is lower than in 2019 (525). However, registration is not mandatory and this figure does not need to reflect the exact number of French people living in this country. According to the embassy, 35 French companies are on “clean land”, mainly large groups operating in the energy, pharmaceutical, distribution, maritime and public building sectors.
“Our police and our rangers can handle the situation.”, Interior Minister Sheikh Rashid Ahmed promised at a press conference. “All French citizens are safe here and there is no threat against them.”
The DLP leader was arrested
DLP supporters on Monday responded angrily to the arrest of their leader, Chad Rizvi, just hours after calling for a rally in Islamabad on April 20 to demand the ouster of the French ambassador. He has demanded the withdrawal since Mr Macron assured France that cartoons, including The Prophet, would not be dropped.
The French president’s words provoked protests in Pakistan, the DLP, and many other Muslim countries, as well as calls for a boycott of French products. In its strictest interpretation, Islam respects any representation of Muhammad, which is considered slander. In Pakistan, even allegations that have not been proven to offend Islam can lead to assassinations and murders.
The escalation of violence
At the end of October, Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan blamed Macron“Attacking Islam” And lead “Proper Islamist propaganda under the guise of freedom of expression”, The French ambassador to Pakistan, Mark, was summoned. To date, relations between the two countries remain tense.
In November, Qui d’Orsay strongly condemned the comments “Hateful and lying” Pakistan Human Rights Minister Shreen Mazari; In a tweet, he said: “Macron does to the Muslims what the Nazis imposed on the Jews.” In February, Qi D’Orze summoned the Pakistani embassy to Islamabad. Attitude is constructive Following the statements made by the President of Pakistan Arif Alvi regarding the bill targeting radical Islam in France. Mr. Alvi considered the bill “Separatism” Harm to Muslims. “Changing the laws (…) Isolation of minorities is a dangerous precedent. ”, He particularly condemned.