French embassy suggests its citizens leave Pakistan

The French embassy in Pakistan advised all French nationals and companies to temporarily leave the country after the TLP protests.

On Thursday, April 15th, 2021, the French embassy in Pakistan advised French citizens and companies to evacuate from Pakistan. earlier this week, violent protests organized by TLP shocked the nation. The protests are anti-France, over the religious blasphemy concerns. 

Accordingly, the French embassy sent an email to French citizens. the email said, “Due to the serious threats to French interests in Pakistan, French nationals and French companies are advised to temporarily leave the country. The departures will be carried out by existing commercial airlines.”

Consequently, Veronique Wagner, the press attache of the French embassy Spoke to Dawn. She said: “We can confirm that we have sent a precautionary note to all our citizens in Pakistan. Advising them to temporarily leave the country if possible. Due to the recent protests that have caused graver security threats and put its citizens at risk.”

Moreover, she said, the embassy has not been closed yet and is working with limited staff.

Later in the day,  Zahid Hafeez Chaudhri, the Foreign Office spokesperson said, the government was aware of the embassy’s advice. It appears to be based on the embassy’s assessment of the situation.

Moreover, Zahid added that for the maintenance of law and order the government is taking enhanced measures.  On its part, it is preventing any damage to life and property.

Consequently, Since the French government expressed support for a magazine’s right to republish blasphemous caricatures. Anti-French sentiment has been simmering for months in Pakistan.

Subsequently, on Wednesday, the government of Pakistan decided to ban the Tehreek-i-Labbaik Pakistan (TLP). TLP’s leader had called for the expulsion of the French ambassador and people have launched violent protests in the country. 

Accordingly,  authorities arrested the leader of TLP, Saad Rizvi, hours after he made his demands. He brought thousands of his supporters to the streets in cities across Pakistan.

As a result of the violent protests, two police officers died in the clashes. Forces had to use water cannons, tear gas and rubber bullets used to hold back crowds.

Moreover, TLP supporters brought Islamabad to halt in November 2020. For three days the supporters rallied a series of anti-France protests. 

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