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French restaurant barring Pakistanis shut down in Islamabad

Wednesday 8th ,2014

French restaurant barring Pakistanis shut down in Islamabad

ISLAMABAD, Pakistan: Following public outcry over policy that barred Pakistanis inside, a French Restaurant in posh locality here was shut down by police today.

La Maisan, kept Pakistanis diners out citing the French style of cooking that uses wine, non-halal food and pork dishes.

However, public outrage picked up momentum after a senior journalist Cyril Almeida twittered extensively on  the policy which was compared to apartheid and infamous colonial boards outside clubs in India under British rule. Social networks became inflamed with the incident forcing authorities to take note.

The restaurant-owner Philippe Lafforgue had, in the early stages, indicated that the policy would be changed, but the bar on nationals continued.

Philippe claimed, he had opened the outlet to serve authentic French cuisine, the recipe of which is not compatible with the faith of people here and hence the ban.

In a similar scenario in early 2009, a French restaurant “The Cordon Rogue” was forced to remove the ‘foreigners only’ board following public protests.

La Maison was a hit with expats where patrons had to make prior booking giving international passport details. It operated in a style similar to the New York’s ‘secret restaurants.

“We stand by our policies. Everybody is welcome, even Pakistani people with a dual nationality. I don’t want to hurt the sensitivities of Muslim people” said Philippe prior to the police raid with TV crew in tow.