The federal cabinet, on directions from the Islamabad High Court (IHC), is set to take up a petition which would deal with cutting of diplomatic ties with France as well as the complete boycott of French products within the country.
The decision is to be taken during the weekly cabinet meeting on Tuesday.
In the petition, petitioner’s counsel Tariq Asad stated that the French publication published several crude caricatures which were blasphemous, defamatory, racist, Islamophobic and sparked anger across the Islamic world.
In the order issued by Justice Mohsin Akhtar Kayani of the IHC in October, he had written, “…entire question raised in the instant writ petition is related to the policy decision of Government, therefore, instant writ petition is converted into representation and transmitted the same to the Secretary, Cabinet Division to place the same before Federal Cabinet in the upcoming meeting to take policy decision”.
There is been rising tensions between the nations ever since French President Macron supported a teacher who had shown blasphemous caricatures of Holy Prophet (Peace Be Upon Him) in a classroom and was subsequently attacked as a result of the blasphemous content.
Last week, France had objected to a statement by Minister for Human Rights Shireen Mazari equating President Emmanuel Macron’s new measures to counter “Islamist separatism” in France with the anti-semitic policies of Nazi Germany.
However, the issue was later resolved when both sides held dialogue after a false claim in the cited news article came to light.
Furthermore, Macron had issued a “charter of republican values”, detailing a series of steps aimed at purging France of what he declared as “radical Islam”. One of the measures made it necessary for school-going children to wear an identification number that would be used to ensure they are attending school.
Earlier this month, French President Emmanuel Macron had said his country is fighting “Islamist separatism, never Islam”, responding to a Financial Times article that he claimed had misquoted him and has since been removed from the newspaper’s website.
In a letter to the editor published on Wednesday, Macron had said that the British paper had accused him of “stigmatising French Muslims for electoral purposes and of fostering a climate of fear and suspicion towards them”.
“I will not allow anybody to claim that France, or its government, is fostering racism against Muslims,” he had said.
On October 27, the National Assembly 9NA0 had unanimously passed a resolution condemning the publication of blasphemous caricatures in France and the “resurgence of Islamophobic acts” in some countries.
According to the resolution read out by the minister, the NA, while taking serious note of the republication of blasphemous caricatures of Holy Prophet (PBUH) and the desecration of the Holy Quran in Norway and Sweden, had condemned in strongest terms the “resurgence of blasphemous and Islamophobic acts by mischievous elements in some parts of the world”.
The lower house had also expressed serious concern at the “highly concerning statements and hate-mongering especially by leaders like [French] President Emmanuel Macron justifying unlawful propagation and insult to sentiments of more than a billion Muslims through such hate-driven acts under the garb of freedom of expression”.
“[The assembly] condemns unequivocally the practice of blasphemy and of insulting prophets of Islam, Christianity and Judaism alike,” according to the resolution, which had also denounced acts of terror carried out in the name of any religion.