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Fact Check: Did France cancel travel visas of 183 Pakistani citizens after “Imran Khan’s criticism”

While the account of Embassy of Pakistan in Paris, France is not verified, Pakistan bureaucrat Danyal Gilani clarified on Twitter that this is the only real account of Pakistan embassy in France. Danyal Gilani is 26/11 Mumbai terror attack conspirator David Headley's half-brother.

Following the beheading of a history teacher named Samuel Paty by a radical Islamist for showing ‘blasphemous’ Charlie Hebdo cartoons to students, Pakistanis have been trending #boycottfrench products on Twitter. Agitated by the public display of cartoons which they deem as ‘objectionable’, coupled with French President Emmanuel Macron’s strong views against radical Islam, the Pakistani PM Imran Khan even attacked him on Twitter.

On Saturday, a Twitter account named ‘Consulate General of Pakistan France’ had claimed that France has rejected the visa applications of 183 Pakistani citizens. It added that about 118 citizens with proper documents have been deported, despite being in possession of proper documents.

Screengrab of the tweets by the account

“183 visitor visa provided to our citizens has been found to be rejected by French authorities following the criticism by PM Imran Khan. 118 citizen with proper documents were deported forcefully. We’re currently in touch with french authority to give our citizens temporary stay,” it claimed. The Twitter handle had also alleged that even the sister of Lt. General Ahmed Shuja Pasha could not escape the ire of French authorities. It emphasised that Pakistan has demanded compensation for the monetary loss borne by its ‘consulate’ in France.

It alleged, “After cross-checking the list of deportees handed to us, we have found the name of Lt.Gen Ahmad Shuja pasha’s sister there. We’ve requested french authorities to provide her temporary stay as she wants to see her ailing mother-in-law…No clarification has yet provided by the French immigration department regarding the visa cancellation of our citizens. We’ve asked French authorities to compensate our monetary losses bear by our consulate & we expect they shall comply with our demands.”

‘Real’ Pakistani Consulate issues clarification

It has now come to light that the said Twitter handle was an imposter account of the actual Pakistan Embassy in Paris. The account looked shady from the start as it had only a handful of followers. But, nevertheless, netizens fell for the tweets, believing it to be a reactionary move by the French authorities against the high-handedness of the Pakistani State.

The official account of Pakistan Embassy clarified, “The Embassy of Pakistan in Paris, France has only one Twitter account @PakInFrance. Any other account claiming to represent the Embassy anywhere in France is fake & misleading & may be reported to Twitter.” Meanwhile, the fake account named ‘Consulate General of Pakistan, France” stands deleted at the time of writing the article.

While the account of Embassy of Pakistan in Paris, France is not verified, Pakistan bureaucrat Danyal Gilani clarified on Twitter that this is the only real account of Pakistan embassy in France.

Danyal Gilani is 26/11 Mumbai terror attack conspirator David Headley’s half-brother.

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