France Summons Pakistan Envoy Over Criticism Of ‘Separatism’ Bill

While addressing a religious conference on Saturday, President Arif Alvi described the new French “separation” law as a crackdown on Muslims in France.

France summons Pakistan envoy over criticism of ‘separatism’ bill
Imran Khan, Prime Minister of Pakistan, speaks to reporters during a news conference at United Natio...

The French Foreign Ministry has summoned a Pakistani envoy to register its protest over the remarks made by the South Asian country’s president on the bill. While addressing a religious conference on Saturday, Pakistani President Arif Alvi described the new French “separation” law as a crackdown on Muslims in France.

Alvi said, “When you see that laws are being changed in favor of a majority to isolate a minority, that is a dangerous precedent.” Referring to the legislation passed by the French parliament following the killing of a teacher over the derogatory cartoons of Islam’s Prophet Muhammad. He further urged the government in France to not entrench these attitudes into law, arguing that it was high time to bring people of all faiths together.

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In October, Pakistan was one of the Muslim nations that saw widespread protests across the country over President Emmanuel Macron’s defense of the caricatures. Meanwhile, Pakistan, the second-largest Muslim nation on the planet, does not have an ambassador in France.

On Monday, in response to the comments made by the Pakistani President, the French foreign ministry said that it had summoned Islamabad’s diplomatic mission to disapprove of Alvi’s remarks, arguing that the new law has no discriminatory element.

The ministry said, “It is guided by the basic principles of freedom of religion and conscience, makes no distinction between the different religions and applies therefore equally to all faiths.” It further called on Islamabad to understand the spirit of the law and adopt a “constructive” approach to diplomatic relations.

Last week, the lower house of the French parliament approved the new law about Macron’s claims that “Islamists” in France are refusing to embrace the secular ideas and closing themselves off the society. Under the new law, the state now has the power to shut religious organizations if they are suspected to air theories that could spread violence in the European nation.

On the other hand, Pakistan has been particularly virulent of the French government’s clampdown on Muslims. In October last year, Prime Minister Imran Khan accused Macron of encouraging Islamophobia for defending the right to publish the derogatory cartoon of the Prophet.

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