Pakistani parliament urges government to withdraw envoy from France

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ISLAMABAD (Reuters) – Pakistan’s parliament on Monday passed a resolution urging the government to recall its envoy from Paris for posting images of the Prophet Muhammad in France, accusing President Emmanuel Macron of “hatred” against Muslims.

People chant slogans by setting a banner with the flag of France crossed out on fire during a demonstration against the publications of the Prophet Mohammad cartoon in France and the comments of French President Emmanuel Macron, in Peshawar, Pakistan on the 26th October 2020. REUTERS / Fayaz Aziz

The non-binding National Assembly resolution came hours after the French ambassador to Islamabad was summoned to Pakistan’s foreign ministry to register his protest.

These developments were the last expression of anger in the Muslim world over France, displaying images of the Prophet Muhammad that Muslims regard as blasphemous.

The resolution expressed “deep concern over very disturbing statements and incitement to hatred, in particular from leaders like President Macron, justifying unlawful provocations and insults to the feelings of over a billion Muslims.”

The resolution also urged the government to ask other Muslim countries to boycott French products.

Earlier, a foreign ministry statement said the French ambassador had been summoned and said that “Pakistan strongly condemned the assimilation of Islam into terrorism, for narrow electoral and political gains.”

Macron had paid tribute to a French history professor beheaded by an 18-year-old man of Chechen origin for showing cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad in a course on freedom of expression.

Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan targeted Macron on Sunday, claiming he attacked Islam by encouraging the display of cartoons depicting the Prophet Muhammad.

Small protests were held Monday in the northwestern city of Peshawar and the eastern city of Lahore, where participants burned the French flag and launched slogans against France and Macron.

Pakistani Traders Association chairman Ajmal Baloch told Reuters TV in Islamabad that his organization was reaching out to traders across the country to remove French products from shelves.

Baloch said the association would hold a protest and march towards the French embassy on Friday.

The cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad, first published in 2005 by the Danish newspaper Jyllands-Posten, have long been a hot topic among Muslims, sparking protests in Pakistan and elsewhere.

Reporting by Gibran Peshimam in Islamabad and Reuters TV in Lahore; Additional reporting by Asif Shahzad; Edited by David Goodman

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