Miliband condemns Pakistan comments
Shadow foreign secretary David Miliband has stepped up his criticism of David Cameron over Pakistan, just days before the arrival of the country’s president on an official trip to the UK.
Asif Ali Zardari is due to arrive in Britain on Tuesday for a five-day visit which looks likely to be overshadowed by Mr Cameron’s claim that Pakistan was promoting the “export of terror”.
The comment has sparked fury in Pakistan, not least because it was made during a visit to the country’s arch-rival India.
Demonstrators burnt an effigy of the Prime Minister in the streets of Karachi on Saturday, while a top-level meeting between Pakistan’s ISI intelligence agency and UK security experts was cancelled in protest. But Mr Zardari has resisted domestic pressure for him to abandon his own visit.
In a speech in the Punjab on Saturday, Pakistani prime minister Yousaf Raza Gilani said that Mr Cameron’s remarks were particularly galling because they were made in India.
And he rebuked the Prime Minister: “In India, you talk about terrorism but you don’t say anything about Kashmir. You forgot about the human rights abuses going on there. You should have spoken about that too, so that we in Pakistan would have been satisfied.”
Mr Miliband said the Prime Minister should have recognised Pakistan’s suffering at the hands of terrorists and the democratic progress achieved in Islamabad over recent years, rather than highlighting allegations of covert support for the Taliban in Afghanistan.
Writing in the Independent on Sunday, he compared the Prime Minister to “a cuttlefish squirting out ink”, creating a mess in Britain’s foreign policy in his desire to create a splash with his comments about Pakistan and his description of Gaza as a “prison camp”.
“Mr Cameron has used the last two weeks to make a verbal splash on foreign policy. Like a cuttlefish squirting out ink, his words were copious and created a mess,” said Mr Miliband.
“The mindsets in Israel, Pakistan and Britain have all been given the once-over. But making a splash is not the same as making a difference. That is the real test, not the false trail of whether to speak ‘straight’ or not.”