Zardari gets British assurance over US incursions

September 17th, 2008 - 8:43 pm ICT by IANS  

Gordon BrownLondon, Sep 17 (IANS) The British government has requested the Bush administration to seek Islamabad’s permission before pursuing Al Qaeda terrorists hiding in Pakistan, the country’s envoy to Britain said Wednesday.Pakistani High Commissioner Wajid Shamsul Hasan’s comments came after a 150-minute meeting between visiting Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari, British Premier Gordon Brown and Foreign Minister David Miliband.

“There was a perception that Prime Minister Brown had supported the American bombing. But hank god the British government has made its position clear that it has sought the Americans to take Pakistan’s permission before intervening in Pakistan,” Hasan told BBC radio.

Earlier, Zardari said the United States will not carry out any more unilateral military strikes on Pakistani soil.

Asked by reporters if Pakistani troops had been authorised to fire on American soldiers, Zardari said after his meeting Tuesday: “I don’t think there will be any more.”

The visiting Pakistani leader also said US military incursions would not help his fledgling democratic government.

“Pakistan has always relied on the UK for support of democracy,” he said, adding Britain “always had better understanding of the sub-continent than any other country so if they would take our point of view and put it across to the world I think it would be better.”

High Commissioner Hasan said: “Mr Brown is absolutely on board with us. I was there at the meeting with President Zardari.”

He said Zardari had told Brown that the West “gave seven years to President Musharraf, gave him 12 billion dollars to fight terrorism. He couldn’t take them anywhere.

“And we’re just seven months (old), and what happens is that when the government is taking positive action and is about to make a breakthrough, some American unmanned plane comes in and kills a wedding party … without making a single tactical gain.

“We get a very bad name: people ask what sort of friends do you have who don’t care for your civilians?” Hasan added.

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