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Pakistan’s parliament debates whether to expel the French special envoy – The Diplomat


Circuit | Politic | South Asia

Will the Pakistani government give in to threats from Islamist extremists?

A lawmaker from Pakistan’s ruling party on Tuesday kicked off a debate over whether to expel the French ambassador for the publication of controversial cartoons in France depicting the religious Prophet Muhammad. Recovery or not.

The resolution of Amjad Ali, a legislator of Pakistan’s ruling party Tehreek-e-Insaf, is seen as a test of whether the government will yield to threats from Islamist extremists. It comes hours after the country’s Interior Minister announced the success of his negotiations with an outlaw Tehreek-e-Labaik Pakistan group.

It also happened after 10 people, including four policemen, were killed during protests that broke out on April 12 following the arrest of Saad Rizvi, the leader of Tehreek-e-Labaik. Rizvi threatened the government to hold massive protests if the French envoy was not expelled.

Earlier, on Tuesday, Interior Minister Sheikh Rashid Ahmad said that according to parliament’s resolution, the criminal cases against Islamic elements related to the deadly anti-French protests will be withdrawn. . However, there was no mention of Rizvi’s release or his supporters in the resolution.

Asad Qaiser, speaker of Congress, postponed the session amid heated debate until Friday, asking the government to address the opposition’s concerns about the resolution’s wording.

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Tensions stemmed from last year when the French president defended freedom of expression in a satirical newspaper that published a caricature of Islam’s prophet Muhammad, drawing condemnation from around the Muslim world.

Members of Tehreek-e-Labaik Pakistan are also protesting the arrest of Rizvi, a cleric who emerged as the group’s leader in November following the sudden death of his father, Khadim Hussein Rizvi.

Rizvi and his party want to expel the French ambassador under an agreement between Rizvi’s government and party in February.

The government said it was only committed to discussing the matter in Congress before April 20, when Ahmad said a resolution would be forwarded to Congress, the lower house of Congress.

Rizvi supporters took to the streets across the country last week before being arrested by police. The reaction from Rizvi’s supporters against his arrest was so rapid that violence quickly spread across the country. Four police officers and at least six protesters were killed in the violence.

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