London: Sayeeda Warsi, the only Asian member of the Prime Minister David Cameron government, has criticised Pakistan for not living up to the ideals of its founder Mohammad Ali Jinnah and for denying women rights that were guaranteed in the Quran.
Pakistan-origin Warsi, 40, is the co-chairperson of the Conservative party and a cabinet minister without portfolio in the Cameron government.
Warsi reportedly worked behind the scenes to reduce anger in Pakistan after Cameron, during a visit to India last year, criticised Pakistan for "looking both ways" on the issue of terrorism.
In an interview to The Guardian, Warsi said she would deliver a tough message to Pakistan because she did not have "colonial baggage".
Warsi said she had raised the issue of women`s rights last July in Rawalpindi, in a speech in Urdu at the Fatima Jinnah University, named after the younger sister of the founder of Pakistan.
"Why is it that today you`re being denied the rights that your faith gave to you 1,400 years ago?" Warsi asked, recalling her central message to her female audience.
Warsi, 40, whose father arrived in Britain from Pakistan in 1960, said she had also raised concerns about the treatment of minorities in Pakistan.
Shahbaz Bhatti, Pakistan`s only Christian minister, was shot dead in March after he called for the reform of blasphemy laws that impose the death sentence for insulting Islam.
Warsi said: "I said to them... let me talk to you about the rights of minorities, the protection of women and the concept of meritocracy. I gave real examples of how Islam embodies all of those values, and the question I put was: my country wasn`t formed in the name of Islam, but yours was; so why does my country embody the values of the faith that your country was formed on the basis of?"
She added: "This was not the west arriving with an ideological perspective of women`s rights about to impose them on a nation. I understand this culture, I deeply understand the faith and the culture that is part of this nation ... But what I don`t see is you in many ways having the very values upon which the nation was formed, the vision of the founder of Pakistan."