- Title: PAKISTAN/UK: Islamist group burn effigy of David Cameron amid a diplomatic row
- Date: 1st August 2010
- Summary: KARACHI, PAKISTAN (JULY 31, 2010) (REUTERS) PROTESTERS HOLDING BANNER AND PARTY FLAGS CHANTING "GOD IS GREATEST" BEARDED PROTESTER CHANTING AND CROWD RESPONDING "DOWN WITH CAMERON" VARIOUS OF PROTESTERS CHANTING ISLAMIC SLOGANS PROTESTER SETTING FIRE TO EFFIGY OF PRIME MINISTER DAVID CAMERON WHILE OTHERS CHANT EFFIGY BURNING/PROTESTERS CHANTING "DOWN WITH CAMERON" (SOUNDBITE) (Urdu) MOHAMMAD YOUSUF MUNEER, PROTEST LEADER, SAYING: "Today's demonstration is to internationally register our protest against the British prime minister's statement who has tried to prove himself an Indian prime minister rather than a British prime minister. His harsh words are an attempt to destroy the balance of power in the region. He has insulted the whole Pakistani nation. We strongly denounce it." PROTESTERS HOLDING BANNER AND CHANTING
- Embargoed: 15th August 2010 23:30
- Topics: International Relations
- Reuters ID: LVA4OT4DI9GMH88J6O515WNPWN0Z
- Aspect Ratio: 4:3
- Story Text: About a dozen protesters from an Islamist group burned an effigy of the British Prime Minister amid a diplomatic row, in the southern Pakistani city of Karachi on Saturday (July 31).
Relations between Britain and Pakistan have been strained since Cameron, speaking in India on Wednesday (July 28), told Islamabad that it must not become a base for militants and "promote the export of terror" across the globe.
A Pakistani foreign ministry spokesman said this week his country had been "saddened" by Cameron's remarks. Pakistan is a key ally of the US whose help is crucial for western efforts to stabilise Afghanistan.
The protest outside the Karachi Press Club, was organised by Shabab-e-Milli, a youth group supported by the major Islamic party Jamat-e-Islami.
"Today's demonstration is to internationally register our protest against the British prime minister's statement who has tried to prove himself an Indian prime minister rather than a British prime minister. His harsh words are an attempt to destroy the balance of power in the region. He has insulted the whole Pakistani nation. We strongly denounce it," said protest leader Mohammad Yousuf Muneer.
Cameron's remarks came days after classified US military reports published on the whistle-blower WikiLeaks website detailed US concern that the ISI had aided Taliban militants while the Pakistani government was taking billions of dollars in US aid.
Pakistan's ISI chief has called off a trip to Britain in protest at Prime Minister David Cameron's remarks on its militant ties, as Islamabad is hit by a barrage of criticism of its alleged links to terror groups.
An ISI spokesman said that senior intelligence officials, including ISI head Lieutenant General Ahmad Shuja Pasha, would not go to London on Monday (August 2) as planned for counter-terrorism talks.
But President Asif Ali Zardari will still visit Britain next week, a government spokesman said.
David Miliband, a British leadership candidate for the opposition Labour Party, and Britain's most recent foreign secretary, criticised Cameron for his remarks.
"Clearly this week he's been out to make headlines in foreign affairs but actually we need strong relationships and strong partnerships. He said he would tell it like it is, but he only told part of the story in respect of Pakistan and that's why they are so enraged," said Miliband.
It's not the first time Pakistan's alleged ties to al Qaida and Taliban militants, waging a nine-year war in Afghanistan, have been put in the spotlight in the past two weeks.
Secretary of state Hillary Clinton, on a recent visit to Pakistan, said she believed al Qaida leaders were still hiding in Pakistan and that some elements in the Pakistani government knew where they were.
Cameron's remarks appear to have further annoyed Pakistan, which has launched a large-scale military offensive in its provinces bordering Afghanistan. The ISI spokesman said more than 2,500 Pakistani soldiers had been killed and more than 4,000 wounded in battles against militants since the US-led war on Afghanistan in 2001.
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