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Sharif asks Zardari to cut short UK visit over Cameron remarks

world Updated: Aug 04, 2010 18:33 IST

Pakistan's main opposition PML-N chief Nawaz Sharif on Wednesday said the country has been "let down very badly" by President Asif Ali Zardari who went ahead with a visit to Britain despite Premier David Cameron's remarks linking Pakistan to terrorism and asked him to return home.

The former Prime Minister demanded that Zardari cut short his visit to the UK in protest against Cameron's remarks which he made in India last week and to deal with the worst floods in the country in eight decades.

"We have been let down very badly by President Zardari. We have been let down more by him than the statement by David Cameron," Sharif told the media in Charsadda, one of the areas in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa province worst hit by the floods that have killed 1,500 people and affected 3.2 million more.

Cameron had warned Pakistan to sever links with groups that promoted the "export of terror." His comments triggered a diplomatic row between the two countries and political leaders urged Zardari not to go to Britain after ISI chief Lt Gen Ahmed Shuja Pasha cancelled a visit to London.

Sharif, who earlier said that Zardari's visit would be "totally inappropriate," also criticised the government's handling of relief operations in the wake of the floods.

Many victims of the floods have complained that the government has been slow in providing the relief and compensation.

Political leaders, including Sharif, said the government should have used resources allocated for Zardari's visit to help the flood victims.

The Pakistani media on Wednesday played up reports that Zardari had visited his family's rural stately home in France before travelling to Britain.

Zardari's aides have defended his decision to go ahead with the visit to Britain, saying it will give him an opportunity to explain Pakistan's position in the war on terror during a scheduled meeting with Cameron.

The aides have also said the government has kept the expenses on the trip to a minimum as Zardari is staying in the "cheapest five-star hotel in London" and avoiding all unnecessary expenditure.