Paris’ decision not to modernize the Mirage III and Mirage 5 fighter jets could have a huge impact on the Pakistani Air Force, which has around 150 Mirage fighter jets manufactured by the French organization Dassault Aviation. However, only half of them are usable. According to diplomats in New Delhi and Paris, Pakistan had asked France for upgrades to keep the fighter jets in the air. However, the request was rejected, said one of the diplomats.
Another request from Pakistan to upgrade its Agosta 90B-class submarines with air independent propulsion (AIP) systems that would allow them to stay underwater longer was also rejected by France. Pakistan has three Agosta 90B submarines: Khalid, Saad and Hamza.
Earlier this month, France took a harsh decision to revoke the visitor visas of 183 Pakistani nationals, including relatives of Lieutenant General Ahmed Shuja Pasha, the former head of the Pakistani intelligence agency ISI. In addition, France also forcibly expelled 118 Pakistanis.
France is not the only one to have got high against Pakistan. Previously, German Chancellor Angel Merkel made a similar request to supply the AIP system to upgrade the submarine in Pakistan’s inventory due to its role in promoting terrorism, including Islamabad’s failure to cooperate with Germany to identify the perpetrators of the truck bomb attack. on the German Embassy in Kabul in May 2017.
Pakistan tangles with France after President Macron’s sharp criticism of radical Islam
The retribution measures taken against Pakistan are said to be based on Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan’s vigorous criticism of French President Emmanuel Macron over his comments on radical Islam following the gruesome murder of a teacher in the Parisian suburbs.
Samuel Paty, a teacher in a Parisian school, was brutally beheaded by an Islamist for having reproduced in his class the caricatures of the prophet Muhammad published by Charlie Hebdo. Days after his death, Macron paid tribute to the deceased professor, saying Paty embodied French secularism and the freedom of expression they would continue to defend.
Macron spoke out against the extremism engendered by radical Islam and stressed the need to develop an “Enlightenment Islam”. At the same time, the French authorities launched crackdowns against certain mosques and expelled individuals they considered to be involved in extremist activities in France.
Macron also defended the right to caricature, declaring that “the right to caricature is an essential part of being French”.
Macron’s remark criticizing radical Islam sparked an uproar in Muslim countries, whose leaders were quick to launch an attack on the French president. Authoritarian Turkish leader Recep Erdogan has questioned Macron’s sanity. Former Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad posted a long series of tweets rationalizing Paty’s murder for blasphemy.
Imran Khan trained weapons against Macron in his defense of the Prophet Muhammad cartoons
Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan also justified the beheading of Samuel Paty during his speech at the UNGA. In a video statement to the UNGA, he tried to justify what happened in France and said: “The prophet lives in our hearts. When he is ridiculed, when he is insulted, it hurts… We human beings understand one thing: the pain of the heart is much more hurtful than the physical pain. And that is why Muslims react to it.
In a later tweet, he said: “The mark of a leader is that he unites human beings, as Mandela did, rather than dividing them. This is a time when President Macron could have provided a touch of healing and denied extremists space rather than creating more polarization and marginalization that inevitably leads to radicalization.
However, Khan didn’t stop there. In an attempt to appear as the leader of the Muslim Ummah, Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan has stepped up his attack on Western countries, especially France, issuing a statement in which he appealed to the leaders Muslims around the world to take note of the “growing Islamophobia” in non-Muslim states.