Pakistan Minister Shireen Mazari on 22 November had to delete a controversial tweet of hers out of embarrassment. The tweet had likened French President Emmanuel Macron’s regime to that of Nazis after France’s foreign minister registered a protest against it.
Mazari had made objectionable comments against the French president over his stance on Charlie Hebdo caricatures, which a large section of Muslims believes are comical representations of Mohammed even though the magazine never explicitly mentions these are depictions of the prophet of Islam..
On 22 November, Shireen Mazari took to her official Twitter handle saying, “Macron is doing to Muslims what the Nazis did to the Jews ― Muslim children will get ID numbers (other children won’t) just as Jews were forced to wear the yellow star on their clothing for identification.”
France immediately took note of the tweet. It stirred a political storm where the European country issued a strong-worded notice to the Charge d’affaires of Pakistan.
In its letter, France Foreign Minister said that Shireen Mazari’s “despicable words are blatant lies, loaded with an ideology of hatred and violence. Such slanderous comments are disgraceful at such level of responsibility. We reject them strongly”.
“Pakistan must rectify this statement and return to the path of dialogue based on respect,” said the French minister.
After France Foreign Minister’s notice, Shireen Mazari deleted her tweet and issued a clarification on Twitter. She confirmed that the article she had cited in her tweet was rectified by the relevant publication and she also deleted her tweet.
The ties between Pakistan and France have come under strain recently over Emmanuel Macron’s no-nonsense speak on the scourge of Islamic terrorism affecting the world in general and France in particular.
Earlier in October, Pakistan’s parliament had urged their Prime Minister Imran Khan to recall its envoy from Paris. The National Assembly of Pakistan (the parliament of that country) had then cited French President Emmanuel Macron’s remarks in the wake of the recent terror attacks in France as the reason.
French officials have said that the beheading of teacher Samuel Paty was an assault on the core French value of freedom of expression. The attacks have prompted tougher rhetoric from Macron against what he calls “Islamist separatism”. A few years ago, the massacre of staff members of Charlie Hebdo had for the first time made France realise what peril their tolerant, pluralistic and multicultural, secular policy had brought them to.
Meanwhile, thousands across the Muslim world have protested against Macron and his government, angered by the French leader’s comments on Islam and by renewed official support for the right to show the caricatures.
Some Muslim countries have called for a boycott of French products and a number of international media outlets ― as well as allies of France except Poland ― have been critical of the actions by Macron and his government.