The French Embassy in Pakistan has asked its citizens to temporarily leave the country in the wake of violent protests by the banned Tehreek-e-Labbaik Pakistan (TLP), a radical religious party responsible for three-day-long violent protests across Pakistan.

In an email to the nationals living in Pakistan, the French embassy, while alluding to the TLP protests, advised them to leave the country due to the “serious nature” of the threats.

“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,” the French embassy told The Correspondent.

The statement came in the wake of the protests by the TLP. The radical party has led calls for the expulsion of the French ambassador after the government of President Emmanuel Macron expressed support for a magazine’s right to republish blasphemous caricatures depicting Prophet (PBUH).

Earlier this week, countrywide protests broke out, led by the Tehreek-e-Labbaik Pakistan, following the arrest of their chief, Saad Rizvi.

Several offices and organisations were forced to close early on account of the intensity of the protests, with several workers stranded in offices yesterday, April 12.

Tehreek-e-Labbaik Pakistan (TLP) chief Saad Rizvi, the son of the now-deceased cleric Khadim Rizvi, had been detained by security forces in Lahore on Monday, the Tekreek’s leadership confirmed.

The massive round of demonstrations came as a result of taking Rizvi into a pre-emptive custody ahead of the 20 April deadline for the group’s demands to be put forth to the parliament. According to an agreement with the Tehreek-e-Labbaik Pakistan, the PTI government had to put their demands to the parliament which included policies like “expelling the French ambassador, severing ties with France and boycotting French products”, within three months through parliament.

Anas Mallick is an international journalist who has been working as a field reporter for 7+ years now. With a focus on diplomacy, militancy, and conflict, Mallick's expertise involve Pakistan, India, and Afghanistan. He tweets at @AnasMallick


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