The relationship between Pakistan and France, which was strained following the horrific beheading of a teacher in October last year for showing drawings of the Prophet Muhammad to his class, continues to remain bitter. On the one hand, France winked at the anti-radicalism bill to counter the growing fundamentalism in the country. At the same time, Pakistan continues to protest against France and it is President Emmanuel Macron, who has pledged to curb Islamic terrorism in his country.
Revealed by Macron’s daring stance on Islamic fundamentalism, Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan proclaimed that he had accepted in Parliament the Tehreek-i-Labbaik Pakistan (TLP) party’s request to expel the French ambassador on the issue of blasphemy of the Prophet Muhammad before April 20.
Pakistan’s Tehreek-i-Labbaik party, which led the anti-France protest in Pakistan, threatened last month to relaunch its protest if the Imran Khan government did not keep its promise to expel the French ambassador.
Meanwhile, France denounced Imran Khan for giving in to TLP’s demand. The French daily Le Figaro wrote that a source at Elysées said that the decision of the Pakistani government to seize the Parliament on the question of the expulsion of the ambassador of France is “very badly perceived”.
“There were insulting remarks against the president (Macron) and it was taken in a personal capacity. And now the Pakistani government is considering putting the issue of the ambassador’s expulsion to parliamentarians. It is very badly perceived, “said Le Figaro, citing a source.
According to the French daily, the relationship between France and Pakistan, already weakened by a “slanderous tweet” against France by Shireen Mazari, the Pakistani Minister of Human Rights in November 2020, was further blurred after the decision of ‘Imran Khan.
Pakistan has been hostile to France ever since the French president took a stand against Islamic terrorism following the barbaric murder of French teacher Samuel Paty, who showed his class caricatures of the Prophet Muhammad. Paty was beheaded on October 16 by an 18-year-old Muslim extremist. Following this incident, French President Emmanuel Macron had condemned it, calling it an Islamist terrorist attack.
Paty’s murder was the latest attack by a Muslim extremist in France, following the 2015 Charlie Hebdo massacre and the 2016 truck attack in Nice.
French President Emmanuel Macron then refused to condemn the French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo which faced the wrath of Muslims for publishing caricatures of the Prophet and pledged to fight against Islamic separatism in the aftermath of the brutal murder of the professor. of French Samuel Paty.
Since then, Muslims in many Islamic countries, particularly Pakistan, have called for both protests and a boycott of French goods in response to Macron’s stance on the cartoons of Islam’s most revered prophet.
TLP party activists took to the streets, calling on the Pakistani government to sever diplomatic and trade relations with France.
In October, the National Assembly of Pakistan unanimously adopted a resolution condemning the publication of blasphemous cartoons in France and the “resurgence of Islamophobic acts” in some countries.
All these movements had already tarnished relations between France and Pakistan. To make matters worse, Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan, in his October 2020 Tweet, criticized the French president, saying he “chose to deliberately provoke Muslims.” Speaking to Twitter, Khan 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.
Adding salt to the injuries, Pakistan’s human rights minister also took to Twitter a month later to call the French president. She tweeted that Emmanuel Macron treated Muslims like the Nazis treated Jews during World War II.
Linking to an article online, Mazari had tweeted: “Macron does to Muslims what the Nazis did to Jews. Muslim children will be given identification numbers (other children will not) just as Jews were forced to wear the yellow star on their clothes to identify themselves. France, however, took offense at the Tweet and demanded that Shireen Mazari withdraw his remarks against the French president, after which the Pakistani minister deleted his Tweet.
It was the straw that broke the camel’s back. In a major shot for French President Emmanuel Macron, who had vowed to act against the rise of extremism in the country, French lawmakers in the lower house of parliament passed the anti-radicalization bill on Tuesday, which will empower law enforcement officials to quickly arrest someone for spreading hate online. The bill will allow agencies to charge a person with the online hate speech law, which will be punishable by three years in prison and a fine of 45,000 euros.
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