Pakistan's Zardari, U.K.'s Cameron Pledge Cooperation On Terrorism

by
staphni
Pakistan and Britain have pledged to further strengthen mutual ties after a meeting between British Prime Minister David Cameron and Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari today. The two were aiming to smooth over a dispute triggered by Cameron's recent remarks that Pakistan was turning a blind eye toward the "export" of terrorism. The two leaders were all smiles, though, before television cameras after formal talks at the prime minister’s Chequers country house outside London. Pakistan had protested Cameron's comments, made during a trip to India, and Zardari pledged to “educate” Cameron. Zardari’s suggestion in a recent interview that the international community is losing the war of "hearts and minds" in Afghanistan stirred even more controversy. But speaking to journalists after today's talks, Cameron described their meeting as "excellent" and pledged to further strengthen what he called the two countries' “unbreakable” bilateral relationship. "What we've been talking about is our strategic partnership and how we can deepen and enhance that partnership to make sure we deal with all the issues where we want to see progress, whether that is in trade, whether it's in education, and also in the absolutely vital area of combating terrorism," Cameron said. But Shahed Sadullah, a London-based Pakistan analyst, says that despite the warm gestures, the meeting has not removed doubts about Pakistan's role in the war on terror. Zardari, Sadullah argues, could not have offered anything new because of his weak domestic standing. "Cooperation with the [Pakistani] Army and the ISI [Inter-Services Intelligence agency] is the business end of this cooperation on antiterrorist measures. Anything that Zardari says or does, these are just the trappings above," he says. "This is not the meat of the situation because who is actually fighting the war on terror? It is the army and the ISI. They are the ones who are in the forefront. And therefore, the nitty-gritty on this has to come from