• Tuesday, May 11, 2021
  • Last Update : 05:10 pm

French embassy advises citizens to leave Pakistan

  • Published at 04:08 pm April 15th, 2021
Pakistan Protests
Police officers fire teargas as they move to disperse the supporters of the Tehreek-e-Labaik Pakistan during a protest against the arrest of their leader, in Peshawar on April 13, 2021 Reuters

The departures will be carried out by existing commercial airlines, the embassy said in an email to French citizens

The French embassy in Pakistan on Thursday advised all French nationals and companies to temporarily leave the country, after violent anti-France protests paralyzed large parts of the country this week. 

"Due to the serious threats to French interests in Pakistan, French nationals and French companies are advised to temporarily leave the country," the embassy said in an email to French citizens. 

"The departures will be carried out by existing commercial airlines."

Anti-French sentiment has been simmering for months in Pakistan since the government of President Emmanuel Macron expressed support for a magazine's right to republish cartoons depicting Prophet Mohammed -- deemed blasphemous by many Muslims.

On Wednesday, the Pakistani government moved to ban an extremist political party whose leader had called for the expulsion of the French ambassador. 

Saad Rizvi, leader of Tehreek-e-Labbaik Pakistan (TLP), was detained hours after making his demands, bringing thousands of his supporters to the streets in cities across Pakistan.

Two police officers died in the clashes, which saw water cannon, tear gas, and rubber bullets used to hold back crowds. 

The TLP is notorious for holding days-long, violent road protests over blasphemy issues, causing major disruption to the country.

But successive governments have a long history of avoiding confrontation with hardline Islamist groups, fearing any crackdown on religious parties could spark wider violence in the deeply conservative Islamic republic.

"We are in favour of protecting the Prophet's honour, but the demand which they are seeking could have portrayed Pakistan as a radical nation worldwide," Interior Minister Sheikh Rashid Ahmed told a news conference on Wednesday. 

Macron's comments in September triggered anger across the Muslim world, with tens of thousands in Pakistan, neighboring Iran, and other Muslim countries flooding the streets and organizing anti-French boycotts.

TLP supporters brought the capital Islamabad to a standstill at the time.

Blasphemy is a hugely sensitive issue in conservative Pakistan, where laws allow for the death penalty to be used on anyone deemed to have insulted Islam or Islamic figures.

On Twitter, the hashtag "#FrenchLeavePakistan" was trending with 42,000 tweets as of Thursday afternoon. 

Weeks after the satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo republished the cartoons, its former offices in Paris were attacked by a Pakistani man who stabbed two people.

At the time, Prime Minister Imran Khan accused the French president of attacking the Muslim faith and urged Islamic countries to work together to counter what he called growing repression in Europe.

In an address to the United Nations, Khan, a populist leader who has been known to play to Pakistan's hardline religious base, blasted Charlie Hebdo for republishing the cartoons, saying "wilful provocations" should be "universally outlawed."

50
Facebook 50
blogger sharing button blogger
buffer sharing button buffer
diaspora sharing button diaspora
digg sharing button digg
douban sharing button douban
email sharing button email
evernote sharing button evernote
flipboard sharing button flipboard
pocket sharing button getpocket
github sharing button github
gmail sharing button gmail
googlebookmarks sharing button googlebookmarks
hackernews sharing button hackernews
instapaper sharing button instapaper
line sharing button line
linkedin sharing button linkedin
livejournal sharing button livejournal
mailru sharing button mailru
medium sharing button medium
meneame sharing button meneame
messenger sharing button messenger
odnoklassniki sharing button odnoklassniki
pinterest sharing button pinterest
print sharing button print
qzone sharing button qzone
reddit sharing button reddit
refind sharing button refind
renren sharing button renren
skype sharing button skype
snapchat sharing button snapchat
surfingbird sharing button surfingbird
telegram sharing button telegram
tumblr sharing button tumblr
twitter sharing button twitter
vk sharing button vk
wechat sharing button wechat
weibo sharing button weibo
whatsapp sharing button whatsapp
wordpress sharing button wordpress
xing sharing button xing
yahoomail sharing button yahoomail