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French envoy in Islamabad faces threats amid deteriorating diplomatic ties with Pakistan

ANI | Updated: Mar 16, 2021 23:36 IST

Islamabad [Pakistan], March 16 (ANI): Amid deteriorating diplomatic relations between France and Pakistan, Marc Barety, the French Ambassador in Islamabad is facing security threats following a demand by a radical Islamist political party to expel the French envoy.
Roland Jacquard writing for Global Watch Analysis said the Tehreek-e-Labbaik Pakistan has refused to retreat on the ultimatum it issued to the Imran Khan government, stating that France had "insulted" the Prophet.
Alleging blasphemy, the Islamist political party has called for severing diplomatic ties with France and boycotting French products.
Instead of quelling the radical political party, Pakistan President Arif Alvi, while addressing an international audience, last month urged the political leadership of France "not to entrench the discriminatory attitudes against Muslims into laws" and cautioned that doing so would lead to repercussions.
"You [France] need to bring people together and not to stamp a religion in a certain manner to create disharmony and bias," said Alvi while referring to the recent anti-separatism bill that was passed in the French National Assembly.

Aside from Alvi, Pakistan's Minister for Human Rights Shireen Mazari had made a personal attack on French President Emmanuel Macron on Twitter.
The Pakistan President's comments witnessed a strong reaction from the French foreign office, which summoned the Pakistan Charge d'Affaires at their embassy in Paris.
Following threats by the Tehreek-e-Labbaik Pakistan to re-start nationwide protests to demand the expulsion of the French Envoy, Imran Khan's government bought time by promising to refer this matter to the country's Parliament before April 20, Roland Jacquard said.
"How the Pakistani parliament deals with this issue will be interesting to watch," Jacquard added.
Previously, France and Pakistan enjoyed warm bilateral relations across all fields of cooperation, from art and culture to defence. As a result of these developments, this sudden Pakistani animosity has taken French officials by surprise.
Advising the French government, Jacquard argued that it be prudent for the French government to review its policies towards Pakistan and refresh its threat assessment from this part of the world. (ANI)