French embassy asks nationals to leave Pakistan over security reasons


ISLAMABAD – The French embassy in Pakistan on Thursday issued an advisory to all French nationals and companies asking them to temporarily leave the country, after violent protests by the Tehreek-e-Labbaik Pakistan (TLP) 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.”

Protests against France have been carrying out for months in Pakistan since French President Emmanuel Macron-led government announced support for magazine involved in publishing blasphemous caricatures, hurting sentiments of Muslims across the world.

PTI Govt Bans TLP

Prime Minister Imran Khan and his cabinet approved a summary on Thursday from the interior ministry to ban the TLP whose chief Saad Hussain Rizvi had called for the expulsion of the French envoy over blasphemous caricatures.

The governments will now present the declaration of the ban in the Supreme Court of Pakistan which would later order the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) to denotify the party.

Once the TLP is denotified, all of its lawmakers will stand disqualified automatically.

Violent Protests Leaves Two Policeman Dead

The protests erupted on April 12 after the Lahore Police arrested Saad Hussain Rizvi, the son of late cleric Khadim Hussain Rizvi.

The country saw massive traffic jams at various points in multiple cities after the TLP workers blocked roads to press their demands.

Two police officers died while hundreds others injured in the clashes, which saw water cannon, tear gas and rubber bullets used to disperse the protesters.

TLP supporters brought the capital Islamabad to a standstill in November last year for three days when they carried out anti-France rallies.

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