Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 25 November 2020

Pakistan's parliament urges government to withdraw envoy from France

Small protests were held on Monday in the northwestern city of Peshawar and the eastern city of Lahore, where people burnt the French flag

Pakistan’s parliament on Monday passed a resolution urging the government to recall its envoy from Paris over the publication of images of the Prophet Mohammad in France.

The resolution also accused French President Emmanuel Macron of “hate-mongering” against Muslims.

The National Assembly resolution, which is non-binding, came hours after the French ambassador in Islamabad was summoned to the foreign office for Pakistan to register its protest.

The move is the latest show of anger from an Islamic country at France displaying images of the Prophet Mohammad that Muslims consider blasphemous.

The resolution expressed “serious concern at the highly disturbing statements and hate-mongering, especially by leaders like President Macron, justifying unlawful provocation and insult to the sentiments of more than a billion Muslims”.

It also urged the government to ask other Muslim countries to boycott French products.

Earlier, a foreign office statement said the French ambassador was summoned and told that “Pakistan strongly condemned equating Islam with terrorism, for narrow electoral and political gains”.

Mr Macron had paid tribute to a French history teacher who was beheaded by an 18-year-old man of Chechen origin for showing cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad in a class on freedom of speech.

On Sunday Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan took aim at the French premier, saying he had attacked Islam by encouraging the display of the cartoons.

Small protests were held on Monday in the northwestern city of Peshawar and the eastern city of Lahore, where participants burnt the French flag and raised slogans against France and Mr Macron.

The president of the All Pakistan Traders Association, Ajmal Baloch, told Reuters TV in Islamabad that his organisation was getting in touch with traders across the country to take French products off the shelves.

Mr Baloch said that the association would arrange a protest and march towards the French embassy on Friday.

France has also angered Turkey with its campaign to promote secular values against extremism.

Mr Macron praised the teacher, Samuel Paty, as a "silent hero" who upheld France's secular values.

He pledged that the country would "not give up our cartoons", which incensed Mr Erdogan.

The cartoons of the Prophet Mohammad, first published in 2005 by Danish newspaper Jyllands-Posten, have long been a sensitive topic among Muslims, stirring protests in Pakistan and elsewhere.

Updated: October 28, 2020 01:02 AM

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