Saturday, July 31, 2010

DTN News: Pakistan Spy Scraps UK Talks After PM's Comments

Defense News: DTN News: Pakistan Spy Scraps UK Talks After PM's Comments
Source: DTN News / AP By Jill Lawless
(NSI News Source Info) LONDON, England - July 31, 2010: A diplomatic spat with implications for international counterterrorism escalated Saturday, when Pakistan's spy chief canceled a visit to London after the British leader suggested that Pakistan exports terrorism.
A senior Pakistani intelligence official confirmed that Lt. Gen. Ahmed Shujaa Pasha had called off a trip planned for next week, when he had been due to discuss security cooperation with British intelligence bosses. The official spoke on condition of anonymity in line with his agency's policy.
Prime Minister David Cameron outraged officials in Islamabad when he said during a visit to India that Pakistan must not be allowed to "promote the export of terror whether to India, whether to Afghanistan or to anywhere else in the world."
Pakistan insists that it has done more than any other country to combat terrorism, sending the army to fight Taliban and al-Qaida-linked militants within its borders and cooperating closely with Western intelligence agencies.
But its Inter-Services Intelligence spy agency has long been accused of secretly aiding Afghanistan's Taliban and other Islamic militants.
Pakistan reacted angrily to Cameron's remarks. Wajid Shamsul Hasan, Pakistan's ambassador to Britain, called the comments "an immature reaction from an immature politician."
Cameron later conceded that Pakistan had made moves against terror organizations, but said "it still needs to take further steps."
Pakistan's military-run spy agency operates largely beyond civilian control. But the official said the decision to scrap the spy delegation's visit was backed by the Pakistani government.
Britain's Foreign Office said a visit to Britain by Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari is still scheduled to go ahead next week. Zardari is due to stay with Cameron at his country retreat, Chequers.
The Foreign Office declined to comment on Pasha's canceled trip, saying it did not discuss intelligence matters.
Britain and the United States regard Pakistan as a key nation in the fight against terrorism. Britain's former prime minister, Gordon Brown, said that 75 percent of terror plots under investigation in Britain were linked to Pakistan.
Britain is home to about 1 million people of Pakistani origin.
Pakistani officials say their spies have worked closely with British counterparts to investigate the 2005 London suicide bombings and to thwart several planned attacks, including a 2006 plot to blow up trans-Atlantic airliners.
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