French embassy in Pak asks its citizens to leave amid violent protests

at 8:45 pm
French embassy

New Delhi (NVI): French Embassy in Pakistan has asked its citizens to leave the Muslim-majority country due to “serious threats” in view of protests and violence by radical Islamist party Tehreek-i-Labaik Pakistan (TLP) over controversial caricatures of Prophet Mohammad, as per Pak media reports.

This comes a day after Pakistani government decided to ban TLP under “Rule 11(b) of the Anti-Terrorism Act (ATA), 1997.” The supporters of this extremist party have been demanding the release of their leader Hafiz Rizvi who was arrested ahead of rallies to demand for expulsion of French ambassador over cartoons by a weekly magazine in France that appeared to be depicting Prophet Mohammad.

Pakistan has been witnessing a Civil War like situation over the past three days as lakhs of protesters staged sit-ins against Imran Khan government and engaged in violent clashes with Pak forces across the Muslim-majority nation.

In view of the situation and strong anti-France sentiment across the country, the French Embassy has sent a mail to all its citizens in Pakistan to leave.

“Due to the serious threats to French interests in Pakistan, French nationals and French companies are advised to temporarily leave the country,” the embassy’s mail to French citizens was quoted by The Dawn.

As per reports, hundreds of policemen have been injured in the deadly clashes and seven persons are dead, including two cops.

What is worse is that terror group Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) has decided to support the protests, that can further escalate the tense situation in the country.

Several videos and pictures on social media with #CivilWarinPakistan have went viral in the last three days, showing protesters clashing with Pakistani Rangers and policemen as the situation went out of control.

TLP launched the massive protests on Monday after arrest of its chief Saad Rizvi. His arrest came ahead of the April 20 deadline set by the extremists, demanding expulsion of French ambassador from the Imran Khan government.

The TLP wants expulsion of French envoy for publication of the cartoon of prophet, which had stirred massive protests in the country.

Interestingly, the Imran Khan government had signed an agreement with TLP in November last year to expel the French ambassador. TLP had launched massive protests against cartoons in November last year but the agreement to expel the French envoy was extended to February this year, and further until April 20.