France on Tuesday summoned Pakistan charge d’affaires to protest comments by President Arif Alvi on the new anti-radicalism bill introduced in the French Parliament. Amid the ongoing faceoff between the two countries, France has asked Islamabad to adopt a “constructive attitude” to bilateral relations. This development took place in light of Pakistan President addressing an event on Sunday where he urged the political leadership of France “not to entrench the discriminatory attitudes against Muslims into laws”.
Alvi further cautioned that doing so would lead to serious repercussions in the shape of hatred and conflict. The President was commenting in reference to an anti-radicalism bill passed by the French parliament’s lower house. This bill received an overwhelming majority that would strengthen oversight of mosques. The French Foreign Ministry expressed “surprise and disapproval” over Alvi’s remarks.
The French Ministry further clarified that the bill does not include any discriminatory provisions and rather is guided by the fundamental principles relating to the freedom of religion. Alvi said in a recently held international conference on religious freedom and minorities rights said that the French enactment was not in accordance with the Unified Nations sanction and repudiated the soul of social amicability that Europe earlier imparted to its general public.
Previously tense situation in Islamabad had arisen as protesters attempted to march towards the French Embassy to protest against French President Emmanuel Macron. The Islamabad Police used to tear gas shells to prevent the mob from reaching the French Embassy.