The French embassy in Pakistan on Thursday advised all French nationals and companies to temporarily leave the country, after violent anti-France protests paralyzed large parts of the country this week. In an email shared with its citizens the embassy wrote, “Due to the serious threats to French interests in Pakistan, French nationals and French companies are advised to temporarily leave the country.” “The departures will be carried out by existing commercial airlines.”
Anti-French sentiment has been boiling for months in Pakistan since the French President Emmanuel Macron expressed support for a magazine’s right to republish cartoons depicting Prophet Mohammed. On Wednesday, the Pakistani government moved to ban an extremist political party whose leader had called for the removal of the French ambassador. Saad Rizvi, leader of Tehreek-e-Labbaik Pakistan (TLP), was detained hours after making his demands, bringing thousands of his supporters to the streets in cities across Pakistan.