Pakistan withdraws from terror talks in Cameron protest

Prime Minister's comments on terrorism provoke anger in the government and streets of Karachi

David Cameron's comments about Pakistan's alleged links with terrorism threatened to cause a full-scale diplomatic row last night after the country's intelligence officials boycotted a counter-terrorism summit in the UK and demonstrators burned an effigy of the Prime Minister on the streets of Karachi.

Three days before President Asif Ali Zardari is due to arrive in London, members of his intelligence services cancelled a planned conference with British counterparts over the stinging criticism delivered by Mr Cameron in India last week.

Pakistan's information minister Qamar Zaman Kaira said yesterday that there was "resentment" in his country over the comments made during a visit to its traditional rival. But, amid warnings that the intervention could cause unrest among young British Pakistanis, he said he hoped the crisis could be resolved when the leaders meet this week at the PM's country retreat, Chequers.

Mr Cameron provoked fury when he said Pakistan should not be able "to look both ways" on terror, after a speech in Bangalore last Wednesday. He also said Pakistan must not "promote the export of terror, whether to India or whether to Afghanistan or anywhere else in the world".

Former foreign secretary David Miliband joins criticism today, accusing Mr Cameron of "chasing headlines". In an exclusive article for The Independent on Sunday, he likens Mr Cameron to "a cuttlefish squirting out ink" during his visits to Turkey and India last week. "Pakistan is the region's tinderbox," Mr Miliband writes. "We have 10,000 young men and women at risk in Afghanistan. Only a political settlement can bring an end to the war.

"For that we need Pakistan; and they need our economic and military support. David Cameron is right that terrorist groups have launched attacks from Pakistan. But that is only part of the picture. Pakistan has also been the victim of terror. But the Prime Minister, in attacking Pakistan for 'looking both ways', did not tell this side of the story."

Mr Cameron's comments were particularly damaging as they came soon after leaked US documents suggested Pakistan's Inter Services Intelligence agency (ISI) had been helping the Afghan insurgency. Pakistan officially referred to the remarks as "surprising, to say the least" and pointed to the "innumerable sacrifices" it had suffered at the hands of terrorists.

Mr Cameron's spokeswoman said he was referring to Pakistan as a country, not its government, but the PM did not row back in media appearances. But the row was reignited yesterday when the ISI director general, Lieutenant General Ahmed Shuja Pasha, cancelled his UK visit, due to begin tomorrow, and confirmed that the decision had been made in direct response to Mr Cameron's comments. Sources in Islamabad said Pakistan had been outraged at the suggestion that it was playing a "double game" in Afghanistan.

In a sign of mounting public resentment, activists from the radical group Shabab-e-Milli burned a dummy of Mr Cameron outside the Karachi Press Club, and called for Pakistan to cut diplomatic ties with the UK. The protesters held up a banner reading "David Camroon – The loos mouth".

"There should be a protest on an international level as Pakistan is working in co-ordination with the international community in its war against terror," said organiser Mohammad Yousuf Munir. "It's a sheer injustice."

A former ISI head, General Hamid Gul, said Mr Cameron's comments were a "huge mistake" which had upset the nation – and could cause dangerous resentment among British youths with connections to Kashmir, the region claimed by both India and Pakistan.

General Gul added: "The UK has always maintained a very delicate balance between India and Pakistan and this has been rather rudely broken. And this has upset many Pakistanis; in fact the entire nation is really up in arms, but more than that, I don't see the sagacity in it. If you are talking about combating terrorism, this is not the way."

Sir Hilary Synnott, a former British high commissioner to Pakistan, said India and Britain had shared interests as both had been affected by the activities of such groups as Lashka-e-Toiba and Hakani network. He told BBC Radio 4's Today programme: "It's quite clear Pakistan hasn't been controlling these groups sufficiently, so there comes a time, and it's for a politician to judge this time, when these matters have to be said more strongly."


Actress sees off speculation about her appearance in an amazing way

Arts and Entertainment
Serge Pizzorno of Kasabian and Noel Fielding backstage at the Teenage Cancer Trust concerts
musicKasabian and Noel Fielding attack 'boring' musicians
Arts and Entertainment
Julianne Moore and Ellen Page are starring together in civil rights drama Freeheld
'Irritatingly Disneyfied': fashion vlogger Zoella
voicesVicky Chandler: Zoella shows us that feminism can come in all forms
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
nflAtlanta Falcons can't count and don't know what the UK looks like
Arts and Entertainment
High notes, flat performance: Jake Bugg

Review: Despite an uphill climb to see Jake Bugg in action, his performance is notably flat

The Putin automaton will go on sale next month in Germany
videoMusical Putin toy showing him annexing Crimea could sell for millions

Powerful images of strays taken moments before being put down

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Norwegian Speaking Trainee Recruitment Consultant

£18000 - £23000 per annum + competitive OTE: SThree: Progressive in Manchester...

IT Support Analyst - London - £22,000

£20000 - £22000 per annum + Benefits: Ashdown Group: IT Support Analyst - Chel...

Learning Support Assistants-Nantwich area

£8 - £9 per hour: Randstad Education Chester: We are currently recruiting for ...

Primary Teachers-Northwich area

£85 - £110 per day: Randstad Education Chester: Primary Teachers- Northwich Ar...

Day In a Page

Indiana serial killer? Man arrested for murdering teenage prostitute confesses to six other murders - and police fear there could be many more

A new American serial killer?

Police fear man arrested for murder of teen prostitute could be responsible for killing spree dating back 20 years
Sweetie, the fake 10-year-old girl designed to catch online predators, claims her first scalp

Sting to trap paedophiles may not carry weight in UK courts

Computer image of ‘Sweetie’ represented entrapment, experts say
Fukushima nuclear crisis: Evacuees still stuck in cramped emergency housing three years on - and may never return home

Return to Fukushima – a land they will never call home again

Evacuees still stuck in cramped emergency housing three years on from nuclear disaster
Wildlife Photographer of the Year: Intimate image of resting lions claims top prize

Wildlife Photographer of the Year

Intimate image of resting lions claims top prize
Online petitions: Sign here to change the world

Want to change the world? Just sign here

The proliferation of online petitions allows us to register our protests at the touch of a button. But do they change anything?
Ed Sheeran hits back after being labelled too boring to headline festivals

'You need me, I don’t need you'

Ed Sheeran hits back after being labelled too boring to headline festivals
How to Get Away with Murder: Shonda Rhimes reinvents the legal drama

How to Get Away with Murder

Shonda Rhimes reinvents the legal drama
A cup of tea is every worker's right

Hard to swallow

Three hospitals in Leicester have banned their staff from drinking tea and coffee in public areas. Christopher Hirst explains why he thinks that a cuppa is every worker's right
Which animals are nearly extinct?

Which animals are nearly extinct?

Conservationists in Kenya are in mourning after the death of a white northern rhino, which has left the species with a single male. These are the other species on the brink
12 best children's shoes

Perfect for leaf-kicking: 12 best children's shoes

Find footwear perfect to keep kids' feet protected this autumn
Anderlecht vs Arsenal: Gunners' ray of light Aaron Ramsey shines again

Arsenal’s ray of light ready to shine again

Aaron Ramsey’s injury record has prompted a club investigation. For now, the midfielder is just happy to be fit to face Anderlecht in the Champions League
Comment: David Moyes' show of sensitivity thrown back in his face by former Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson

Moyes’ show of sensitivity thrown back in his face... by Ferguson

Manchester United legend tramples on successor who resisted criticising his inheritance
Two super-sized ships have cruised into British waters, but how big can these behemoths get?

Super-sized ships: How big can they get?

Two of the largest vessels in the world cruised into UK waters last week
British doctors on brink of 'cure' for paralysis with spinal cord treatment

British doctors on brink of cure for paralysis

Sufferers can now be offered the possibility of cure thanks to a revolutionary implant of regenerative cells
Ranked seventh in world’s best tourist cities - not London, or Edinburgh, but Salisbury

Lonely Planet’s Best in Travel 2015

UK city beats Vienna, Paris and New York to be ranked seventh in world’s best tourist destinations - but it's not London