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A French restaurant in the Pakistani capital, Islamabad, has been shut down by police after a public outcry over the owner’s policy of only serving foreigners.“La Maison” restaurant, which opened in October in an upmarket part of the capital dominated by foreigners and wealthy Pakistanis, operated a reservation-only policy and required patrons to provide a foreign passport number when making a reservation in order to keep Pakistanis out.The owner, Philippe Lafforgue, says that the policy was designed out of respect for local cultural sensibilities because his menu includes non-halal products, food cooked with wine – and the restaurant also boasted a full bar and poker table.Gambling and alcohol are forbidden in Islam, and some foods, including pork, are considered haram, or forbidden, by Islam. Under Pakistani law, gambling is illegal as is the consumption of alcohol by Muslims.Foreigners are allowed to drink and buy alcohol in Pakistan. Non-Muslim Pakistanis are also allowed to buy alcohol if they have a government-issued card that declares them non-Muslim. The card acts as a sort of ration book that gives non-Muslim Pakistanis a monthly alcohol quota in government-run liquor shops.However, the sale and serving of alcohol is very restricted and is regulated by the provincial governments. There are 50 places licensed to serve and sell alcohol in Sindh province. In Punjab there are 15 and three in the federal capital, all of which are operating through hotels that have at least four stars, as stipulated in the law. In Baluchistan there are two licensed liquor outlets, and Khyber Pakhtukhwa province is technically dry, through there is a thriving trade in moonshine, homemade alcohol.But the rules surrounding alcohol consumption are little understood, and in Islamabad, where the Pakistani elite and foreigners often move in the same social circles, the rules often become blurred.Mr. Lafforgue says that as a foreigner he is allowed a license to serve alcohol to non-Muslims, and that he decided to ban all locals from his restaurant to avoid having to pay bribes to the police.“It would obviously be profitable [to serve Pakistanis], but I will have to bribe the police, which I want to avoid,” Mr. Lafforgue said.The situation over the exclusive French restaurant erupted in December, when influential columnist, Cyril Almaida, who writes for Dawn newspaper, an English-language daily, tweeted that he had been denied a reservation at ‘La Maison’ because he was a Pakistani.