UK high commissioner summoned in Pakistan

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The Pakistan government summoned Britain's High Commissioner for talks today as the diplomatic row over critical comments by David Cameron continued.

Adam Thomson was called to meet foreign minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi amid efforts to prevent the spat overshadowing a visit to the UK by Pakistan President Asif Ali Zardari 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 Yousaf Raza Gilani, voiced anger with Mr Cameron, and the country's information minister said Mr Zardari, who arrives in the UK tomorrow for a five-day visit, would correct the PM's "misperception" when they meet at his country retreat Chequers.

But Islamabad acted in advance of the meeting by summoning Mr Thomson.

"We can confirm that the British High Commissioner to Pakistan met this morning with the foreign minister, at the request of the ministry of foreign affairs," a UK Foreign Office spokesman said.

A Downing Street spokeswoman said the high commissioner and Pakistan foreign minister had covered a "broad range of issues".

"They discussed a broad range of issues including preparations for President Zardari's visit," she said.

Asked if Mr Cameron would be apologising for his previous remarks, the spokeswoman replied: "He stands by the comments he made."

She added that Mr Thomson had conveyed the PM's condolences over the floods that struck Pakistan.