France forgives Pakistani minister for ‘insulting’ tweet

10:00 PM | 23 Nov, 2020
France forgives Pakistani minister for ‘insulting’ tweet

ISLAMABAD – The Foreign Ministry of France has accepted the clarification and apology provided by Pakistan’s Human Rights minister Shireen Mazari over her controversial tweet aimed at President Emmanuel Macron.

The French Embassy, in a tweet Monday, thanked Ms. Mazari and wrote that "freedom of expression and debates are essential in democracies, based on verified and accurate facts."

Earlier in a statement, French Foreign Ministry spokesperson Agnes von der Muhll said that on November 21, a member of the Pakistani Cabinet "expressed views through social media, in terms that are deeply shocking and insulting for the President of the Republic and for our country."

"These 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," the statement continued.

"We have immediately informed the Chargé d 'affaires of Pakistan in Paris of our condemnation in the strongest terms. Pakistan must rectify this statement and return to the path of dialogue based on respect."

The Ministry had reacted after Mazari tweeted an article titled "Forced ID Numbers for Children: France’s Macron Introduces New Charter for French Muslims," which accused the French President Emmanuel Macron of introducing "draconian laws" for Muslim children in France.

Mazari had commented that "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."

The article was however amended earlier on Sunday to reflect the fact that the idea, if implemented, would be applied to all children in France and not just to Muslim children.

In a follow-up tweet on Sunday, Mazari initially doubled down on her claims following a condemnation by France’s foreign ministry late on Saturday, which described them as “blatant lies, imbued with an ideology of hatred and violence”.

Later on Sunday, however, Mazari tweeted: “The article I had cited has been corrected by the relevant publication, I have also deleted my tweet on the same.”

The incident follows anger in Pakistan over the republication of caricatures of the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) by satirical French magazine Charlie Hebdo.

The images have sparked anger and protests in the Muslim world, especially in Pakistan.

Pakistan’s parliament at the end of October passed a resolution urging the government to recall its envoy from Paris, accusing Macron of “hate-mongering” against Muslims.

In early October, Macron made a speech in which he described Islam as a religion “in crisis” globally and said he would work against “Islamist separatism” in France.