French President Emmanuel Macron’s recent comments on Islam have sparked a storm and a boycott from Islamist countries, including India’s immediate neighbor, Pakistan.
Pakistan’s parliament on Monday passed a resolution urging the government to recall its envoy from Paris over the publication of images of the Prophet Mohammad in France, accusing President Emmanuel Macron of “hate-mongering” against Muslims.
The National Assembly resolution, which is non-binding, came hours after the French ambassador in Islamabad was summoned to the foreign office for Pakistan to register its protest.
The resolution expressed “serious concern at the highly disturbing statements and hate-mongering, specially by leaders like President Macron, justifying unlawful provocation and insult to the sentiments of more than a billion Muslims”.
The resolution also urged the government to ask other Muslim countries to boycott French products.
While the anger isn’t unique to Pakistan, as many other countries have also called for similar measures, but there was a slight catch in Pakistan’s resolution: It doesn’t have an envoy in France.
According to The News, Pakistan’s last ambassador to France, Moin-ul-Haq, was moved to Beijing from Paris, in August. Since then, Pakistan has not confirmed or publicly announced if it has appointed a new ambassador to France – with most media reporting that the post is currently vacant.
Pakistan’s Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi was one of the movers of the resolution in the national assembly, reported India Today.
As part of his duties in the Foreign Office, Qureshi would be aware of the fact that, currently, Pakistan does not have an envoy in France, added India Today, and him “calling back” an envoy who doesn’t exist only adds strangeness to the matter.
Earlier, a foreign office statement said the French ambassador was summoned and told that “Pakistan strongly condemned equating Islam with terrorism, for narrow electoral and political gains”.
Macron had paid tribute to a French history teacher who was beheaded by an 18-year-old man of Chechen origin for showing cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad in a class on freedom of speech.
On Sunday Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan took aim at Macron, saying he had attacked Islam by encouraging the display of cartoons depicting the Prophet Muhammad.
Small protests were held on Monday in the northwestern city of Peshawar and the eastern city of Lahore, where participants burnt the French flag and raised slogans against France and Macron.
(With inputs from Reuters)