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Pak leaders step up criticism of Cameron

Pakistani leaders stepped up their criticism of David Cameron for his remarks linking the country to terrorism, with Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani today saying it would have been better if the British premier had raised the issue of alleged rights violations in Jammu and Kashmir during his visit to India.

world Updated: Jul 31, 2010 18:51 IST

Pakistani leaders stepped up their criticism of David Cameron for his remarks linking the country to terrorism, with Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani on Saturday saying it would have been better if the British premier had raised the issue of alleged rights violations in Jammu and Kashmir during his visit to India.

Gilani noted that Cameron had talked about the promotion of terrorism by Pakistan and question why the British Prime Minister had not raised human rights violations by Indian armed forces in Jammu and Kashmir.

"It would have been better if he had talked about the issue there (in India) and won the hearts of the Pakistanis," Gilani said while addressing a gathering at Sargodha in Punjab province.

Pakistan and Britain have had good relations for the past 60 years and Islamabad wants to further strengthen them, he said.

Cameron's warning to Islamabad to sever links with groups that promote the export of terror to Afghanistan and India have cast a shadow on Pakistan-Britain ties and the chief of the powerful Inter-Services Intelligence has cancelled an upcoming visit to London to convey the military's displeasure over the remarks.

Earlier, Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi said Pakistan would seek an explanation from the British High Commissioner on Cameron's comments.

"British Prime Minister David Cameron's comments were surprising," Qureshi told a TV news channel.

Pakistan was a frontline state in the war on terror and its achievements and successes could not be negated, Qureshi contended.

Pakistan's people and armed forces have made great sacrifices in the war, he added.

Diplomatic sources said an official of the British High Commission is expected to be called to the Foreign Office on Monday to seek an explanation on Cameron's comments.