Theresa May pledges to help Pakistan in 'fight against terror and violent extremism'


Home Secretary Theresa May has pledged support to Pakistan in its “fight against terror and violent extremism” on her third visit to the country.

Mrs May is the fourth UK minister to visit Pakistan since prime minister Nawaz Sharif and his Pakistan Muslim League-N party formed a new government following resounding victory at elections in May.

During her visit, the Home Secretary backed further co-operation between the UK and Pakistan in efforts to tackle threats posed by terrorism, drug trafficking and illegal migration.

At a press conference broadcast on Pakistani television, Mrs May congratulated the country on a "smooth transition" to a democratically government.

She added: "The UK will continue to support and work with Pakistan in their fight against terror and violent extremism."

Mrs May also offered condolences to families who lost loved ones in suicide bomb attacks at a church in Peshawar on Sunday.

"The British Government utterly condemns these attacks, which are especially sickening as they targeted people leaving their place of worship," she said.

Asked about the attack on a shopping mall in Kenya, the Home Secretary said: "I'm aware of the reports that there has been a British woman involved.

"At this time, until we've seen the investigation completed, It's not possible to comment further. As I indicated earlier, I'm not able to give further details."

Prime Minister David Cameron, Foreign Secretary William Hague and International Development Secretary Justine Greening have all visited Pakistan since Mr Sharif was elected.

Mrs May held talks with Pakistan's interior minister Chaudhry Nisar.

At the same press conference, Mr Nisar said: "We look forward to working with you on all areas of mutual interest, whether it is counter-terrorism, immigration, serious crime, narcotics.

"As I mentioned to her in my discussions, the sky is the limit to the level of co-operation and the level of working together that can be identified."

He added: "As a Pakistani, I'm embarrassed when any illegal activity takes place in a foreign country and the name of the criminal is flagged and bracketed with my country.

"It's my responsibility to work as the minister charged to work within Pakistan and outside Pakistan in close collaboration with the relevant agencies - and in this case the UK - to see that these illegal activities are controlled."

Mr Cameron was the first world leader to meet Pakistan's newly elected prime minister in June.

His visit to Pakistan was seen as an attempt to "relaunch" the UK's relationship with the country and open doors for British business.