Now Reading: Pakistan Cancels $1.5 Billion Defense Deal with French Company Airbus
As Pakistan’s relations with France further worsen due to the rising tide of Islamophobia in the latter country, Pakistan has cancelled a $1.5 Billion Defense Deal with a French Company. Reportedly, Pakistan called off this multibillion-dollar deal with the French aerospace corporation – Airbus – amidst its final stages.
Recently, a rift has been created between France and the entirety of the Muslim world due to Islamophobic statements from the country’s premier. The French premier delivered a spirited speech in which he defended the display of caricatures of the Holy Prophet (PBUH) as ‘free speech’.
French President Emmanuel Macron not only defended the controversial cartoons but also refused to renounce them, and even displayed them on the government despite the Muslim world’s outrage, boycotts and protests against France over these caricatures globally. Furthermore, he labelled Islam as “a religion that is in crisis all over the world”.
Following these Islamophobic remakes, Pakistan has cancelled the multi-billion dollar deal with Airbus by which Pakistan Navy was going to acquire 27 EC725 Caracal Multi-mission Helicopters for its ASW helicopter program.
Until the recent wave of Islamophobia that overtook France and caused it to strain ties with various Muslim countries, including Pakistan. Airbus was one of the final contenders that bid for the modernization of the Pakistan Navy helicopter fleet. The French company had the brightest chances to win this contract prior to the controversy.
As Pakistan is among the few Muslim countries who took an exception to French President, Emmanuel Macron’s anti-Islam remarks and spoke out globally against publication of blasphemous caricatures of the Holy Prophet (PBUH), Airbus’ proposal will no longer be considered for the tender process. Now, it will pick between Chinese Z-20F or the American S-70B SeaHawk.
Prime Minister Imran Khan’s Letter to the World
Prime Minister Imran Khan has called for the Muslim world to unite in face of the rising Islamophobia around the world. In a letter to the Muslims states around the world, PM Khan wrote;
“Today, we are confronting a growing concern and restlessness amongst our Ummah as they see the rising tide of Islamophobia and attacks, through ridicule and mockery on our beloved Prophet PBUH in the Western world, especially Europe. The recent statements at the leadership level and incidents of desecration of the Holy Quran are a reflection of this increasing Islamophobia that is spreading in European countries where sizeable Muslim populations reside.”
He further urged on the leaders of the Muslim world to take the lead in breaking the cycle of hate, violence and extremism and raise their voice in negating the false pretense set about Islamic religion and values in the Western world. He asked them to take the initiative to let the world know the love and reverence Muslims feel for their divine book i.e. the Holy Quran, and for the Holy Prophet (PBUH).
Finally, PM Khan put the responsibility on the Muslim leaders to inform the world of the spirit and cote of Islam and show them through example that Islamic faith is guided by peace and tolerance and not violence and extremism. He also urged the other world leaders to take the Muslims’ faith into consideration. He asked them to condemn and criminalize blasphemy.