Cameron remarks on Pak promoting 'export of terror' sparks off diplomatic row
London, July 29 (ANI): British Prime Minister David Cameron's remarks that Pakistan is promoting the 'export of terror' in Afghanistan and around the world, has resulted in a diplomatic row between London and Islamabad.
In words greeted with alarm in Islamabad, Cameron also suggested that Pakistan had links with terrorist groups, and was guilty of double-dealing by aligning itself with both the West and the forces it was opposing.
Speaking in Bangalore on his visit to India, Cameron launched the strongest British criticism yet of Pakistan, warning that the country could no longer "look both ways" by tolerating terrorism while demanding respect as a democracy.
The row comes as Pakistan President Asif Ali Zardari prepares to visit Britain next week, The Guardian reports.
Pakistani High Commissioner to Britain Wajid Shamsul Hasan writing for the Guardian accused Cameron of damaging prospects for regional peace, and criticised him for believing allegations in the leaked secret military files of the Afghanistan conflict.
The leaked documents suggest that the ISI, one of Pakistan's two military intelligence agencies, was encouraging the Taliban as recently as last year.
Hasan wrote: "One would have wished that the prime minister would have considered Pakistan's enormous role in the war on terror and the sacrifices it has rendered since 9/11.
"There seems to be more reliance on information based on intelligence leaks which lack credibility of proof. A bilateral visit aimed at earning business could have been done without damaging the prospects of regional peace."
Pakistan Foreign Ministry spokesman Abdul Basit told Radio 4's World at One: "There is no question of Pakistan looking the other way. I think the Prime Minister was referring to these reports, which are unverifiable and outdated. If we start drawing inferences from these self-serving reports, then obviously we are distracting ourselves."
Cameron's language came close to endorsing the Indian view that authorities in Pakistan have a hand in the terror, as Britain has spoken in the past of the terror threat from Pakistan, The Guardian reports.
Downing Street insisted that Cameron was not accusing the Pakistan Government of sponsoring terrorism. But a few minutes after his speech, Cameron made clear that official agencies in Pakistan were responsible for harbouring terrorists.
Asked whether Pakistan exports terrorism, Cameron said: "I choose my words very carefully. It is unacceptable for anything to happen within Pakistan that is about supporting terrorism elsewhere.
"It is well-documented that that has been the case in the past, and we have to make sure that the Pakistan authorities are not looking two ways. They must only look one way, and that is to a democratic and stable Pakistan." (ANI)