‘Lukewarm’ welcome awaits British PM in Pakistan

April 26th, 2009 - 1:53 pm ICT by IANS  

Gordon Brown Islamabad, April 26 (IANS) British Prime Minister Gordon Brown who is to arrive in Pakistan Monday “is likely to get a lukewarm reception” amid an aggravating diplomatic row between London and Islamabad over a botched terror probe involving Pakistani students in Britain, a media report said.
The diplomatic tension between the two countries sparked by Brown’s statement disparaging Pakistan for not doing enough against terrorism is said to have risen to a point where British Foreign Secretary David Miliband could not speak to his Pakistani counterpart Shah Mehmood Qureshi over the past few days despite repeated requests for telephonic conversation, Dawn newspaper said.

Pakistan’s high commission in London has also denied visas to a British team intending to visit Islamabad for negotiations on a deportation pact, the newspaper said.

It quoted unnamed “diplomatic sources” saying, “While Brown during his last trip in December rudely accused Pakistan of exporting terrorism, this time he may be up to hard talk by the Pakistani leadership.”

This is Brown’s second trip to Pakistan in about four months.

Observers are attaching immense importance to Brown’s unscheduled dash to Islamabad and say it points to the gravity of the situation in the country that is battling Taliban militants who have moved beyond the restive North West Frontier Province.

During his day-long stay Brown would be meeting Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani and President Asif Ali Zardari.

He is likely to put pressure on Pakistan to sign the proposed pact on deportation.

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