Attack on French Embassy in Pakistan Foiled Amid Ultimatum for Envoy's Expulsion

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Pakistani security forces thwarted an attempt to attack the French embassy in capital Islamabad on Thursday.

The bid on the embassy comes amid heightened tensions following an open threat against the French ambassador Marc Barety. Radial Islamist party Tehreek-e-Labbaik had demanded the expulsion of the envoy as it believed France had insulted Islam and the Prophet.

Nice attack
A French flag with a tribute for a victim is seen on the Promenade des Anglais. Reuters

In Thursday's bid against the embassy, a suspect snatched a weapon from the security forces outside the embassy building and shots were fired in the ensuing chaos. However, the forces detained the suspect. WION reported that the man said he was "seeking revenge for blasphemy by France."

Tehreek-e-Labbaik had sought the severing of Pakistan's diplomatic relations with France and had served an ultimatum for the Imran Khan-led government for the expulsion of the envoy.

Meanwhile, another terror strike in the heart of France was reported on Wednesday, when a 75-year-old man was slashed in the throat outside a Church in Montpellier. The critically wounded elderly man was taken to the hospital even as the unidentified attacker was on the run.

French President Emmanuel Macron's defense of freedom of expression and the essence of French secularism in the backdrop of the beheading of school teacher Samuel Paty had triggered massive anti-France protests in Pakistan.

Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan had also launched a brazen attack on Macron after the French president said in a speech in October that he planned to confront 'Islamist separatism' in the country. He said France would curtail the 'foreign influence' on Islam and enforce more oversight on the operations and financing of mosques.

Macron said the crisis of Islam was not limited to France alone but to the whole world. "Islam is a religion that is in crisis all over the world today, we are not just seeing this in our country," he said.

Another low point in the relations between France and Pakistan came in November, when France pulled the plug on decades-old military support for Pakistan. Paris said it would stop supporting the upgrade of Pakistan's Mirage fighter jets, air defense system and Agosta 90B class submarines following the bitter rebuke of Macron delivered by Imran Khan.