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    Zardari due to begin controversial UK visit


    by ODN


    Pakistan's President Asif Ali Zardari is due to arrive in Britain later for a visit likely to be dogged by controversy.

    Anglo-Pakistani relations are in crisis after David Cameron criticised the country's record on terrorism.

    And Mr Zardari is facing a storm of criticism from opponents at home as well as British politicians for refusing to cancel his European tour in the middle of a humanitarian crisis sparked by deadly floods in Pakistan.

    The Prime Minister provoked fury last week during a trip to regional rival India when he suggested elements in Pakistan were "looking both ways" on Islamist violence and "promoting the export of terror". Britain's High Commissioner has been summoned by the Pakistan government over the comments.

    Meanwhile, Labour MP Khalid Mahmood and Lord Ahmed, who were asked to meet Pakistani President Mr Zardari this week, have said he should stay in his country as it suffers its worst floods in 80 years, with up to two and a half million people affected by the disaster.

    Labour life peer Lord Ahmed told ITV News: "I'm not going to meet him (Mr Zardari). He should be in Pakistan looking after people in the floods, not over here. And also because Cameron made these controversial comments. Our Prime Minister's gone a bit too far, and President Zardari should not be here."

    Mr Zardari's visit will focus around talks with Mr Cameron at his Chequers country retreat on Friday. The Pakistan leader has ignored domestic calls to cancel his trip to the UK, including from opposition leader and former prime minister Nawaz Sharif, who warned it would be "inappropriate and an insult to the sentiments of the Pakistani people".