A diplomatic spat with implications for international counterterrorism escalated on Saturday, when Pakistan’s spy chief cancelled a visit to London after the British leader suggested that Pakistan exports terrorism.
A senior Pakistani intelligence official confirmed that Lt. Gen. Ahmed Shujaa Pasha had called off a trip planned for next week, when he had been due to discuss security cooperation with British intelligence bosses.
Prime Minister David Cameron outraged officials in Islamabad when he said during a visit to India that Pakistan must not be allowed to “promote the export of terror whether to India, whether to Afghanistan or to anywhere else in the world.”
Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence spy agency has long been accused of secretly aiding Afghanistan’s Taliban and other Islamic militants.
Pakistan reacted angrily to Cameron’s remarks. Wajid Shamsul Hasan, Pakistan’s ambassador to Britain, called the comments “an immature reaction from an immature politician.”
An official said the decision to scrap the spy delegation’s visit was backed by the Pakistani government.
Britain’s Foreign Office said a visit to Britain by Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari is still scheduled to go ahead next week.