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Pakistan summons High Commissioner

The Pakistan government has called in Britain's high commissioner for urgent talks amid the continuing fallout from critical comments by David Cameron.

Adam Thomson was summoned to meet the foreign minister in Islamabad as the spat threatened to overshadow President Asif Ali Zardari's visit to the UK this week.

The Prime Minister sparked fury with remarks during a trip to regional rival India last week, in which he suggested elements in Pakistan were "looking both ways" on Islamist violence and "promoting the export of terror".

An effigy of the premier was burnt by protesters in the streets of Karachi and a visit to London by agents of Pakistan's ISI intelligence agency for talks with British security officers was cancelled.

Senior figures including Pakistan's prime minister voiced anger with Mr Cameron, and the country's information minister said Mr Zardari, who arrives in the UK on Tuesday for a five-day visit, would correct the PM's "misperception" when they meet at his country retreat Chequers on Thursday.

But Downing Street insisted that Mr Cameron "stands by" his comments, and would not be apologising.

Stressing that the PM had not been referring to Pakistan's political leadership, a spokeswoman said the UK had "very good, strong relations" with the country.

She also played down the burning of an effigy of Mr Cameron in Karachi. "Clearly people have a right to protest," the spokeswoman added.

Islamabad added to the tensions in advance of Mr Zardari's arrival in Britain tomorrow by summoning the high commissioner for talks.

A Foreign Office spokesman confirmed that Mr Thomson had met foreign minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi.


From Belfast Telegraph