French Restaurant in Islamabad Shut Down After Not Allowing Pakistanis
French restaurant in Islamabad served pork and wine.Reuters File Photo

A French restaurant has been shut down in the Pakistani capital Islamabad over its controversial policy of not allowing the locals to dine there.

The restaurant, La Maison, had banned Pakistanis from dining in the venue citing cultural sensitivities in the country. The 20-seater eatery served wine and pork, which are prohibited under Islamic dietry laws.

The controversial policy triggered a cyber-storm in Pakistan as some locals went on to draw comparison with apartheid rule and British colonial era.

Explaining the policy, the restaurateur Philippe Lafforgue said, "It's not a discrimination thing. It's a culturally sensitive thing. How can I serve pork and booze to Pakistanis without getting into trouble? So I have a rule: no locals getting in."

Although the policy attracted widespread criticisms among the locals, the owner of the restaurant was not ready to change it.

He said, "after consulting the authorities, my advisor and my partner, I am telling you it is impossible to open a place to the public when we serve non-halal food. I cannot change the recipes of French food. So we will 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."

Police officials raided the La Maison and reportedly recovered a large quantity of illegal liquor.