Amid clash with Imran Khan, France has reportedly decided to give another shocker to Pakistan by deciding against upgrading its fleet of Mirage fighter jets, air defence systems and the Agosta 90B class submarines. The development occurs amid the fallout between the two nations over Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan’s criticism of French President Emmanuel Macron over his comments on Islamophobia.
As per a report by Hindustan Times, France has also told Qatar not to allow Pak-origin technicians to work with the plane over concerns that they could leak technical information about the fighter jets. Qatar is one of the countries that bought the Rafale aircraft.
Earlier this month, France revoked the visitor visas of 183 Pakistani nationals, including relatives of Lt Gen Ahmed Shuja Pasha, former chief of Pakistan’s intelligence agency ISI. The action was taken to make it clear that it will not bow down to the pressure on Islamic countries.
Not only this, but France has also forcibly deported 118 Pakistanis. This action of Macron government is directly linked to the anti-French rhetoric of Imran Khan.
The two countries locked horns after Imran Khan said last month that French President Emmanuel Macron has “attacked Islam” by encouraging the display of cartoons depicting the Prophet Muhammad.
Khan’s comments come days after Macron paid tribute to a French history teacher beheaded by an Islamist radical who wanted to avenge the use of cartoons depicting the Prophet Muhammad in a class on freedom of expression.
Muslims see any depiction of the Prophet Muhammad as blasphemous. Macron said the teacher was a hero and that Islamists were a threat to the country.
France has in recent years witnessed a series of violent attacks by Islamist militants, including the 2015 Charlie Hebdo killings and bombings and shootings in November 2015 at the Bataclan theatre and sites around Paris that killed 130 people.