LAHORE: French products are being boycotted across the Islamic world after the reprinting of the Holy Prophet’s (PBUH) blasphemous caricatures by French Weekly Charlie Hebdo and the subsequent Islamophobic remarks by French President Emmanuel Macron.
Following this development, the sales of Total Parco Pakistan Ltd (TPPL) have declined sharply in Pakistan, as the customers are refraining from using the French company’s petrol stations across the country.
Ali Khan (name changed to protect identity), a worker at Johar Town Bahoo Fuel Station, told Profit that petrol and diesel sales at his workplace witnessed a sharp decline after the reprinting of blasphemous caricatures and Islamophobic speech by the French president. “Our sales and customers have reduced by approximately 60 per cent,” he added.
Khan said that the Bahoo petrol pump management has been actively distributing flyers and brochures, stating that they condemn the French president and newspaper involved in hate speech against the Holy Prophet (PBUH).
“Our filling station is also decorated with lights and flags for the celebration of Rabiul Awwal,” he added.
SHARP DECLINE IN LUBRICANTS’ SALES
Corroborating Khan’s statement, Mubashir Ali (name changed to protect identity), a worker at Royal Filling Station on Zahoor Elahi Road, told this scribe that oil change and lubricants make up a major chunk of revenue, however, since the incidents in France, the pump has seen a sharp decline in lubricant sales.
“You could safely say that our sale proceeds from lubricants have almost halved since the boycott French products campaign,” he said in a choked tone. “We are trying our level best to educate customers that if they boycott Total’s petrol and lubricants, local businesses will also get a hit.”
He said that they have also been distributing flyers and brochures to raise awareness in the surrounding areas. “It is sad that we have to prove our love for the Holy Prophet (PBUH),” he added.
BOYCOTT FRENCH PRODUCTS CAMPAIGN
Scores of people across the country are presently following the boycott campaign against France in which they have stopped buying French products in a bid to cripple the French economy.
Speaking to Profit, Punjab Group of Colleges (PGC) Marketing Manager Amina Hassan said that they are observing the boycott campaign as it will definitely have an impact on the French economy; this will make them realise that free speech does not come without consequences.
“I have started buying petrol and lubricants from Pakistan State Oil (PSO) petrol pumps,” she said.
CANCELLATION OF CONTRACT WITH TPPL
Hussain Ahmad and Muazzam Ahmad, owners of Hamza Filling Station on Nasirabad-DI Khan Road in Bannu said that they too had taken measures to condemn Macron and the republication of the cartoons.
“As an act of protest, we have cancelled the contract signed with Total Parco Pakistan for we cannot continue business with a firm that belongs to a country where the honour and sanctity of our Holy Prophet (PBUH) are continuously attacked,” they said.
They said that they are weighing their options regarding which oil marketing company they should switch to.
The owners of Hamza Filling Station are not alone; many other petrol pumps doing business with Total Parco Pakistan Limited (TPTL) are considering moving to other companies with the people determination to boycott French products.
“I have decided to move to PSO as we are finding it difficult to work with Total due to ethical reasons,” said one such owner who wished to remain anonymous.
TPPL is an oil marketing company which is the largest affiliate of the Total Group in the Asia Pacific Mathematical Olympiad (APMO) region. Total SE is a French multinational integrated oil and gas company founded in 1924 and one of the seven “supermajor” oil companies in the world.