The French embassy in Pakistan has advised all French nationals and companies to temporarily leave the country, after violent anti-France protests paralysed large parts of the country earlier this week.
“Due to the serious threats to French interests in Pakistan, French nationals and French companies are advised to temporarily leave the country,” the embassy said in an email to French citizens. “The departures will be carried out by existing commercial airlines.”
On Wednesday, the Pakistani government moved to ban the Tehreek-i-Labbaik Pakistan (TLP) whose leader had called for expulsion of the French ambassador. Saad Rizvi was detained hours after making his demands, sparking street protests that killed six people and injured many more in cities across Pakistan.
Anti-French sentiment has been building up for months in Pakistan since the French government expressed support for a magazine’s right to republish caricatures of the Prophet, which is considered blasphemy by Muslims.