As France’s relationship with Pakistan takes a toll following Imran Khan’s verbal attack on French President Emmanuel Macron for taking action against radical Islamist separatists, France has decided not to modernize Pakistan’s fleet of Mirage fighter jets, air defense systems and Agosta 90B-class submarines.
According to a report in the Hindustan Times, France has also asked Qatar not to allow personnel of Pakistani origin to work on the fighter jets, fearing it would disclose technical details of the plane. Qatar is a country other than India which has French-made Rafale planes.
Paris’ decision not to modernize the Mirage III and Mirage 5 fighter jets could have a huge impact on the Pakistani Air Force, which has around 150 Mirage fighter jets manufactured by the French organization Dassault Aviation. However, only half of them are usable. According to diplomats in New Delhi and Paris, Pakistan had asked France for upgrades to keep the fighter jets in the air. However, the request was turned down, one of the diplomats said.
Another request from Pakistan to upgrade its Agosta 90B-class submarines with air independent propulsion (AIP) systems that would allow them to stay underwater longer was also rejected by France. Pakistan has three Agosta 90B submarines: Khalid, Saad and Hamza.
Earlier this month, France took a harsh decision to revoke the visitor visas of 183 Pakistani nationals, including relatives of Lieutenant General Ahmed Shuja Pasha, the former head of the Pakistani intelligence agency ISI. In addition, France also forcibly expelled 118 Pakistanis.
France is not the only one to have fought violently against Pakistan. Previously, German Chancellor Angel Merkel made a similar request to supply the AIP system to upgrade the submarine to Pakistan’s inventory due to its role in promoting terrorism, including failure to Islamabad to cooperate with Germany to identify the perpetrators of the truck bomb attack. on the German Embassy in Kabul in May 2017.
Pakistan tangles with France after President Macron’s sharp criticism of radical Islam
The retribution measures taken against Pakistan are said to be based on Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan’s strong criticism of French President Emmanuel Macron over his comments on radical Islam following the gruesome murder of a teacher in the Parisian suburbs.
Samuel Paty, a teacher in a Parisian school, was brutally beheaded by an Islamist for having reproduced in his class the caricatures of the Prophet Muhammad published by Charlie Hebdo. A few days after his death, Macron paid tribute to the late professor, saying Paty embodied French secularism and the freedom of expression they would continue to defend.
Macron spoke out against the extremism generated by radical Islam and stressed the need to develop an Enlightenment Islam. At the same time, the French authorities launched crackdowns against certain mosques and expelled individuals they deemed to be involved in extremist activities in France.
Macron also defended the right to cartoon, claiming that the right to cartoon is an essential part of being French.
Macrons notes that criticism of radical Islam sparked an uproar in Muslim countries, whose leaders were quick to launch an attack on the French president. Authoritarian Turkish leader Recep Erdogan has questioned Macrons’ sanity. Former Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad posted a long series of tweets rationalizing Paty’s murder for blasphemy.
Imran Khan trained weapons against Macron in defense of Prophet Muhammad cartoons
Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan also justified the beheading of Samuel Paty during his speech at the UNGA. In a video statement to the UNGA, he tried to justify what happened in France and said: The Prophet lives in our hearts. When he’s ridiculed, when he’s insulted, it hurts. We humans understand one thing: pain in the heart is much more hurtful than physical pain. And that is why Muslims react to it.
In a later tweet, he said, the hallmark of a leader is that he unites human beings, as Mandela did, rather than dividing them. This is a time when President Macron could have provided a touch of healing and denied space to extremists rather than creating more polarization and marginalization that inevitably leads to radicalization.
However, Khan didn’t stop there. In a bid to appear as the leader of the Muslim Ummah, Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan has stepped up his attack on Western countries, especially France, issuing a statement in which he appealed to the leaders Muslims around the world note growing Islamophobia in non-Muslim states.
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