The French embassy advises citizens to leave Pakistan

The French embassy advises citizens to leave Pakistan

On Thursday, the French embassy in Pakistan advised all French citizens and companies to leave the country temporarily after paralyzing large parts of the country following violent protests in France.

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

"Departures will be handled by existing commercial airlines."

Considered insulting by many Muslims - Emmanuel Macron's government has backed a magazine's right to republish cartoons depicting Muhammad Mohammed, sparking months of anti-French sentiment in Pakistan. have been.

On Wednesday, the Pakistani government moved to ban an extremist political party whose leader demanded the deportation of the French ambassador.

Saad Rizvi, leader of the Tehreek-e-Lubaik Pakistan (TLP), was detained just hours after making his demands, forcing thousands of his supporters to take to the streets in Pakistani cities.

Two police officers were killed in the clashes, which saw the crowd holding water cannons, tear gas and rubber bullets.

The TLP is notorious for staging days-long, violent street protests over blasphemy cases, which pose a major obstacle to the country.

But successive governments have a long history of avoiding confrontation with hardline Islamic parties, fearing that any action against religious parties could lead to widespread violence in the deeply conservative Islamic Republic.

Interior Minister Sheikh Rashid Ahmed told a news conference on Wednesday, "We are in favor of protecting the honor of the Prophet, but the demand they are seeking is to make Pakistan a radical nation in the world. Can be offered. "

Macron's comments in September sparked outrage around the world, with thousands flooding the streets in Pakistan, neighboring Iran and other Muslim countries, and an anti-French boycott.

At the time, TLP supporters were blocking the capital, Islamabad.

Blasphemy is a very sensitive issue in conservative Pakistan, where laws allow the use of the death penalty even against people considered to be insulting Islam or Islamic figures.

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

Weeks after the satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo's cartoons were published, a Pakistani man attacked its former offices in Paris, stabbing two people.

At the time, Prime Minister Imran Khan accused the French president of attacking the Muslim religion and urged Islamic countries to work together to combat growing oppression in Europe.

Addressing the United Nations, a popular public leader, known for Pakistan's hardline religious base, accused Charlie Hebdo of republishing cartoons, calling "deliberate provocations" global. Should be declared null and void.

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