After rallies that degenerated in Islamabad, the government of Imran Khan reportedly promised the demonstrators, furious at the republication of the cartoons of Muhammad, to expel the French ambassador soon.
This is unheard of in the Islamic Republic of Pakistan. On Tuesday November 17, the Islamist movement Tehrik-e-Labaik Pakistan (TLP) announced that he would stop demonstrating against Emmanuel Macron and block the entrance to the capital, Islamabad, in the district of Faizabad, “An agreement having been reached with the government of Imran Khan on the expulsion of the French ambassador”, reports news site Gandhara.
“The anti-French movement had started at the end of October”, when the Elysee host publicly defended the right to publish cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad. Since then, a few thousand activists from TLP regularly marched through the streets and challenged the police and paramilitary troops deployed on the ground. “Radical religious leader called on Pakistani government to fire French ambassador to Paris and announce official boycott of French products” in all the countries.
“Rise of Islamophobia”
Monday, November 16, the Minister of the Interior, Ijaz Shah, and that of Religious Affairs, Pir Noorul Qadri, “Spoke with the leaders” of the anti-French movement and “Assured them that Parliament would examine the expulsion of the French ambassador within a maximum period of three months”. According to the newspaper Dawn, the Khan government would also have “Made a commitment not to appoint a new Pakistani ambassador to Paris”, where the post has been vacant since August.
Another concession: the 400 members of TLP arrested in recent days for violence on public roads “Should be quickly released”, and the 850 people facing legal proceedings should see these “abandoned ”.
Last week, the chief executive denounced “The rise of Islamophobia in Europe” and called his cabinet to find a way out “peaceful” to the problem. Wednesday evening, however, no confirmation of the agreement claimed by the TLP had not yet been published. And contrary to what the Islamists claim, no promise has been given regarding a possible freeze on imports of products of French origin.