A French restaurant in Pakistan which captured the attention of media for refusing service to Pakistanis has been shut down after a police raid. La Maison, located in Islamabad’s F7-1 district, refused to allow Pakistanis to dine there, saying that the food was non-halal because it was French cooking. The restaurant did serve to Pakistanis with dual nationality, however.
Journalist starts uproar about La Maison
The public outcry was started by Cyril Almeida, a journalist with a Pakistani newspaper. He launched a Twitter campaign telling anyone who would listen about the restaurant’s policy. Many people started comparing that policy to the colonial boards outside clubs, which existed during British rule in India. Also comparisons to apartheid were drawn.
Now The Times of India reports that the owner of La Maison, Philippe Lafforgue, has reportedly written to Almeida to tell him that he is changing the policy of his restaurant. He wrote to the journalist before, saying that he stood by the policy because he did not want to offend Muslims. He said French cooking is not compatible with the faith of Muslims. However, some Pakistanis were quick to point out that being a Pakistan citizen does not automatically make them a Muslim.
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Police raid La Maison
The French restaurant was shut down after police raided the restaurant. Officials said they recovered large amounts of illegal liquor from the restaurant when they raided it. They invited television camera crews along for the ride when they executed the raid. La Maison had been pretty popular with those who were allowed to eat there, and it required diners to call ahead for a reservation and provide their passport numbers.
This apparently isn’t the first time a restaurant got in trouble for barring Pakistanis from coming in. The Cordon Rouge—incidentally, another French restaurant—did have a sign which read “foreigners only” in 2009, but after a protest, that sign was removed.