Federal Minister for Information & Broadcasting Qamar Zaman Kaira has expressed concerns that Pak-British relations could be affected if the British Prime Minister David Cameron repeats his assertions against Pakistan on the issue of terrorism. Speaking at a reception hosted by PPP UK in his and Federal Minister for Manpower and Labour Syed Khursheed Ahmed Shah’s honour here on Saturday night, Kaira said the comments by British Prime Minister David Cameron while touring India have shocked Pakistan and hurt the sentiments of Pakistani people.
He said President Asif Ali Zardari during his August 3-8 visit to the UK will forcefully take up this issue with the British leadership and convey the sentiments of the Democratic Government of Pakistan and its people in a forthright manner.
He said any continuation of such a policy stance by the UK government could lead to fissures in the historically sound relationship between the two countries. “But we hope that this will not happen because Pakistan’s stand against terrorism is based on facts evident to everyone,” the Minister asserted.
The Information Minister said Pakistan is fighting this war on terrorism not only for its own survival but for regional and global peace. He said peace is crucial for Afghanistan’s stability and prosperity but it will also benefit Pakistan and rest of the world.
The Minister expressed hope for a positive change in the perception and views of the new British Government after knowing the real facts regarding Pakistan’s huge contribution towards fighting the war on terrorism.
He urged the Pakistani media in the UK to highlight Pakistan’s sacrifices in the war on terrorism because the country itself has been the biggest victim of this menace and its economy has suffered immensely.“It is our understanding and resolve that without peace in Afghanistan, there cannot be peace in Pakistan. Pakistan is paying a huge price for the past events in Afghanistan which were brought upon the landlocked country by foreign nations”, he said.
Referring to the upcoming visit of President Zardari, he said, the community meeting in Birmingham on August 7 will be the first such public address by the President in UK after the tragic assassination of Shaheed Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto.
He also expressed reservations on reports by a section of the media regarding expenditure on President’s accommodation in London and said the figures quoted have been grossly exaggerated.
He said the Central London hotel, where the President will be staying, is not the top class one even though the past leaders of Pakistan had stayed in the poshest hotels in the British capital.
Speaking of the President’s frugality, the Information Minister said the President has always travelled abroad with the smallest of entourage and often travelled by commercial flights. He urged the media to verify facts before publishing such sensational stories which also harm the country’s image.
Kaira stated there would be no “launching” of Bilawal Bhutto Zardari as the party’s functional chairman. He said that Bilawal became PPP chairman after the assassination of his mother and continues to hold this office. He will take up active politics once his studies are completed, he said.
The PPP activists present on the occasion included Ibrar Mir, Khadim Husain Nasir, Mian Khalid Afzal, Sardar Asad, Taqi Shah, Hafeezuddin Sheikh, Aamir Bhatti and others.
( The Nation)