The British government on Tuesday prepared for a visit by Pakistan President Asif Ali Zardari amid a ballooning row over Prime Minister David Cameron’s recent strong criticism of Pakistani state agencies for fuelling global terrorism.
Zardari, smarting after Cameron warned Pakistan it could not afford to “look both ways” in the war against terror, is reportedly preparing to do some plain-speaking with the British leader at their meeting on Friday.
While Cameron’s statement is entirely in keeping with British policy — a fact acknowledged by Labour’s ex-foreign minister David Miliband — what appears to have stung Islamabad is that he chose to make it in India and in public.
There is also a fear in Islamabad that Cameron’s statement, made after his meeting with President Barack Obama, may reflect United States thinking.
Zardari, under pressure to cancel his British visit, will lace his explanations to Cameron with a warning, a senior Pakistani official was quoted saying on Tuesday.
“We have to tell him [Cameron] what the reality is, to educate him about what we have suffered, and that if we are not supported at this time, how things will get worse,” The Guardian quoted the unnamed official as saying. “Cameron was enamoured by so-called Indian democracy and attractive markets — he was suckered by the Indians.”