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Pakistan govt. agrees to boycott French products after protests: Party

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
People chant slogans as they set fire to France's flag during a protest against the publication of offensive cartoons of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) in France and comments by the French President Emmanuel Macron, in Karachi, Pakistan, on October 31, 2020. (Photo by Reuters)

A Pakistani party says it has called off anti-France protests because the government has agreed to boycott French products over French President Emmanuel Macron’s defense of offensive cartoons of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH).

“We are calling off our protests after the government signed an agreement that it will officially endorse boycotting French products,” Ejaz Ashrafi, a spokesman for the Tehrik-i-Labaik, which led the protests, told Reuters by telephone on Tuesday.

According to the report, the Tehrik-i-Labaik group provided a copy of the agreement, which was signed by two ministers, a top official, and the party’s leaders.

Last month, Macron publicly attacked Islam in defense of the publication of derogatory cartoons of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH).

He made the remarks at a national memorial for a school teacher who was murdered by a teenager of Chechen origin after he showed his students the caricatures of the Prophet (PBUH), earlier published by the magazine Charlie Hebdo.

The French president said he would not “renounce the caricatures.” He described Islam as a religion “in crisis” and declared war on “Islamist separatism,” which he claimed was taking over France’s estimated six-million-strong Muslim population.

Macron’s comments angered not only the Muslim community in France, but all Islamic nations, leading to protests and boycott calls.

In Pakistan, anti-France protests intensified over the past days. Thousands of protesters clashed with police on the main road into the capital, Islamabad, on Monday.

According to the TLP’s spokesman, the pact also stipulates that the Pakistani parliament decide within three months on whether to kick out the French ambassador.

The Islamabad government also released a statement ordering the release of all protesters and activists detained over the past three days.

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