01/07/2014 02:24 pm ET Updated Jan 23, 2014

Restaurant With 'No Pakistanis' Policy Shut Down.. In Pakistan

Fine dining establishment La Maison was shut down by police following widespread criticism of the restaurant's "no Pakistanis" policy. Many were particularly outraged because the French restaurant is located in Islamabad, the Pakistani capital.

According to the Times of India, Pakistani police recently raided the business after La Maison's no locals rule was reported on social media in December. During the raid, officers discovered supplies of illegal liquor.

Authorities then shuttered the restaurant after its final serving Saturday and charged owner Philippe Lafforgue with "unlicensed alcohol," NBC News reports.

While the controversial policy had many citing comparisons to segregation practices like apartheid, La Maison's owner defended his decision to enforce the rule.

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

Consumption of alcohol and pork are forbidden under Islamic law.

Islamabad-based journalist Cyril Almeida was among the first to report that the restaurant only accepts reservations for patrons with foreign passports.

Other Pakistanis chimed in on Twitter and confirmed that the restaurant asked for nationality.

Almeida later exchanged emails with Lafforgue, Al Jazeera reports. "Everybody is welcome even pakistani people with a dual national," [all sic] Lafforgue wrote in an email, which Almeida shared on Twitter.

However, it seems, what many were taking issue with is Lafforgue's purportedly blanket ban of Pakistanis.

"[S]ince when did 'Pakistani' become synonymous with 'Muslim'?" Fatima A. Athar writes in a blog post for The Express Tribune. "How does possession of a dual nationality make a difference if they are in fact Muslims?"

Lafforgue is reportedly seeking to reopen the French restaurant, which made its debut in Islamabad in October.



France And Islamophobia