Pakistani Interior Minister Sheikh Rashid Ahmed said that the government will go to Parliament today, Tuesday, to hold a vote to expel the French ambassador after violent anti-France protests over the publication of the cartoons insulting to the Holy Prophet Muhammad, may God bless him and grant him peace.
The minister explained in a televised speech that "after long negotiations with the Pakistan Labbeek movement, it was agreed that we would present a draft resolution in Parliament today to expel the French ambassador."
The expulsion of the ambassador is one of the 4 main demands of the "Labbaik Pakistan" movement, whose supporters have been demonstrating for more than a week to protest against the offensive cartoons, and negotiations between it and the government began on Monday.
From Islamabad, Al-Jazeera correspondent Ahmed Barakat indicated that the two parties also agreed that the movement would stop its protests in exchange for the release of its detained members and the lifting of travel restrictions on other members.
The circumstances of the agreement
The correspondent explained that the parliamentary vote may not result in a decisive decision to expel the French ambassador, as Imran Khan’s government enjoys a simple majority, and it may end up with a condemnation and condemnation against France.
He stated that the analyzes indicate that the government hastened to conclude this agreement with the movement after opposition forces entered the line of protests and expressed their support for the movement.
He added that there are many questions about the reality of the agreement, especially since "Labbaik Pakistan" is a banned movement at the present time.
Earlier, the Ministry of Interior said that negotiations with the movement led yesterday morning to the release of police officers who were being held hostage by protesters because of the violence they faced during the dispersal of protests in Lahore.
The movement confirms that a number of its supporters were killed in the confrontations that took place the day before yesterday, Sunday, and the movement’s leader, Muhammad Shafiq, said, "We will not bury them as long as the French ambassador is not expelled."
Imran Khan said that these protests do not serve Islam (Reuters - Archive)
Protests against France paralyzed several Pakistani cities, killing 6 policemen, and prompting the French embassy to invite its citizens to leave the country temporarily, and the French Press Agency said, "It seems that a large part of the French ignored this recommendation."
For months, protests against France have continued in Pakistan after French President Emmanuel Macron defended "Charlie Hebdo" magazine in reprinting cartoons that insulted the Prophet Muhammad, may God bless him and grant him peace.
Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan said in a speech yesterday, Monday, that the arson operations, vandalism, protests and demonstrations do not serve Islam and do not affect the offenders of the Messenger, may God bless him and grant him peace.
Khan explained that he is coordinating with other Muslim leaders to criminalize insulting Islam and its symbols.
And he said in his speech, “Does anyone think that the matter of blasphemy does not concern us, that we suffer from what is happening, and who decides this love for the Prophet Muhammad, may God’s prayers and peace be upon him? To the countries that have offended, through demonstrations and chaos we are hurting ourselves and not the West.