Pakistan’s parliament has again postponed a resolution calling for the expulsion of France’s ambassador on Friday, as violent protests over the failure of President Emmanuel Macron to condemn blasphemous cartoons subsided.
The assembly’s speaker made the decision to adjourn the session indefinitely after chaos broke out in the chamber when MPs, supportive of kicking the envoy out of the country, began shouting slogans and brandishing anti-French posters.
The motion was brought forward earlier this week in an attempt to quell discord that had seen violent clashes between protesters and security forces, led by the anti-French Tehreek-i-Labbaik Pakistan (TLP) party, leave the country’s streets covered in blood.
While it is not clear when or if the motion will be taken back up, simply debating the issue in the parliament has calmed protests. Pakistan’s Interior Minister Sheikh Rashid Ahmed announced earlier this week that the government and the TLP had negotiated an end to the unrest, which has resulted in the deaths of five security officials and eight activists.
Amid the protests, the French embassy in Pakistan recommended that its citizens leave the country for the time being “in light of the serious threats.” The warning issued by the envoy did not provide a timeline for when these individuals could return or when they believed the tensions would be resolved.
The TLP has spent months calling for the government to expel the French ambassador over President Emmanuel Macron’s defense of the publication of cartoons of the Prophet Mohammed, seen as blasphemous by Muslims, in the wake of terrorist attacks across Europe, due to France’s commitment to protecting free speech.
In recent weeks, the TLP’s leader was arrested after calling for nationwide protests on April 20 and the government has used anti-terrorism laws to ban the party from raising funds or holding office in the country.
If you like this story, share it with a friend!