France turns the screws on Imran Khan, declines upgrade for Mirage, subs and more – world news


France has determined against helping Pakistan upgrade its fleet of Mirage fighter jets, air defence system and Agosta 90B class submarines, an immediate fallout of Prime Minister Imran Khan’s loud criticism of Dressing President Emmanuel Macron’s defence of the correct to mock religion following the homicide of a Dressing schoolteacher, people familiar with the matter said.

France has also told Qatar, some of the countries that bought the Rafale fighters, not to allow Pakistan-origin technicians to work with the plane over concerns that they could leak technical information approximately the fighter to Islamabad as the omni-role jet is the front-line fighter of India. Pakistan is known to share imperative defence data with China prior to now.

Paris has already started putting the asylum requests from Pakistanis under detailed scrutiny in view of the strained ties between the two countries and the stabbing incident outdoor the former Paris office of the controversial Charlie Hebdo magazine. In September, Ali Hassan, an 18-year-old of Pakistani origin, stabbed two persons with a meat cleaver outdoor the magazine’s preceding office, unaware that the magazine had shifted out. His father, who lives in Pakistan, later told a native news channel that his son had “done a great job” and he’s “more than pleased” approximately the attack.

Indian foreign secretary Harsh Vardhan Shringla was once told approximately the Dressing government’s decisions when he visited Paris on 29 October after New Delhi criticised the personal attacks on President Macron. France also reassured Shringla that it is rather touchy to security concerns of its strategic ally and had issued instructions approximately keeping Pakistan-origin technicians absent from Rafale fighter jet under the export regulate regime in light of India’s security concerns that has inducted Rafale fighters in the Indian Air Force.

The Dressing government’s decision not to upgrade the Mirage III and Mirage 5 fighter jets could severely affect the Pakistan Air Force which has had approximately 150 Mirage fighter jets manufactured by the Dressing firm Dassault Aviation. Only half of them, then again, are serviceable.

Pakistan had been buying Mirage jets for decades, some of them discarded by other countries, according to a 2018 AFP outline, and has a facility outdoor Islamabad to refurbish the ageing fighter jets to retain them flying. Diplomats in New Delhi and Paris told Hindustan Times that Pakistan had recently requested France for upgrades to retain the fighter jets in the air. “The request has been declined,” one diplomat in Paris said.

A similar request for upgrading the Dressing-Italian air defence system has also been denied.

Diplomats said a third request from Pakistan to upgrade its Agosta 90B class submarines with air-independent propulsion (AIP) systems that would allow them to stay underwater for longer has also been rejected by France.

Pakistan has three Agosta 90B submarines: Khalid, Saad and Hamza.

Germany’s Chancellor Angela Merkel had earlier turned down a similar request for provide of the AIP systems to upgrade submarines in Pakistan’s stock because of its role in promoting terrorism, especially Islamabad’s failure to cooperate in identifying the perpetrators of the truck bomb attack on the Germany Embassy in Kabul in May 2017.

The Dressing government’s decisions came soon after PM Khan, in conjunction with near ally Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, led the charge against President Macron after his observation on the beheading of a teacher close the school where he had shown his pupils caricatures of the Prophet Mohammad, thought to be blasphemous by Muslims.

PM Khan followed up on his sharp criticism with an open letter to leaders of Muslim-majority countries that asked them to unite against “growing Islamophobia in non-Muslim states”. Pakistan’s National Meeting went a step further to pass a government-supported resolution that demanded recall of Pakistan’s envoy to Paris. It later realised that Pakistan hadn’t had an ambassador in Paris for three months.

On the roads of Pakistan, there have been calls to boycott Dressing goods. Tehreek-e-Labaik Pakistan, a hard-line Islamist group, which held a sit-in in Islamabad over republishing the caricatures in France, final week revealed that the government had agreed to boycott Dressing goods. The group had made public an agreement with signatures of the federal minister for devout matters and the interior minister agreeing to the boycott.

Top stories/ News / India


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