The French embassy in Pakistan on Thursday advised all French nationals and companies to temporarily leave the country, after violent anti-France protests paralyzed large parts of the country 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.”
Anti-French sentiment has been simmering for months in Pakistan, since the government of President Emmanuel Macron expressed support for a magazine’s campaign of republishing cartoons depicting and insulting the Prophet Mohammed.
On Wednesday, the Pakistani government moved to ban a political party whose leader had called for the expulsion of the French ambassador. Saad Rizvi, leader of the banned Tehreek-e-Labbaik Pakistan (TLP), was detained hours after making his demands, bringing thousands of his supporters to the streets in cities across Pakistan.
Two police officers died in the clashes with TLP supporters, which saw water cannon, tear gas and rubber bullets used to hold back crowds. Tehreek-e-Labbaik Pakistan members and sympathisers brought the capital Islamabad to a standstill for three whole days in November last year, with a series of anti-France rallies.
Source: Al-Ahed News