Cameron, Zardari meet over dinner

Assassinated former Pak PM Benazir Bhutto was remembered during the dinner.

London: Amidst efforts to resolve the
diplomatic row over David Cameron`s comments in India on
Pakistan`s role on terrorism, President Asif Ali Zardari and
the British Prime Minister met over dinner during which
assassinated former premier Benazir Bhutto was remembered.

The dinner last night was originally organised by the
International Development Minister Alan Duncan, who struck up
a friendship with Bhutto during their time together at Oxford
University in the 1970s.

Downing Street sources said the dinner was moved to
Chequers at the Prime Minister`s request.

The dinner provided an occasion to meet informally
before formal talks today morning between Cameron and Zardari.

Official sources a joint press conference after the
talks was unlikely.

On the formal talks, a Downing Street spokesman said:
"The Prime Minister is looking forward to welcoming President
Zardari to Chequers. It is an important opportunity to
reinforce the strong links between the UK and Pakistan and
continue to support stability, security, democracy and
prosperity [there]."

On the agenda will be the international response to
the floods, co-operation in fighting terrorism, Pakistan`s
economy, strengthening educational ties and the situation in
Afghanistan.

Zardari yesterday met Home secretary Theresa May and
Conservative party chairperson Baroness Sayeeda Warsi. He also
met four parliamentarians at lunch at the Pakistani High
Commission, including Conservative MPs Rehman Chishti and
Sajid Javid and the former Labour MPs Shahid Malik and
Mohammad Sarwar.
Other Labour MPs did not attend the meeting, including
Sarwar`s son Anas who is an MP from his father`s Glasgow
Central seat. Another MP, Khalid Mahmood, said he had
boycotted the meeting.

Mahmood said: "I am disgusted with him being here. He
should be looking after his own people. His visit shows his
indifference to his own people."

Meanwhile, Zardari`s son Bilawal announced last night
that he will not participate in tomorrow`s convention of the
Pakistan People`s Party in Birmingham.

The forum was supposed to be the launch-pad for
Bilawal`s political career.

Instead, he said in a statement that, he would spend
Saturday working to help the victims of the country`s
devastating floods.

He said: "I will not even be attending the
(Birmingham) event and instead I will be opening a donation
point at the Pakistani High Commission in London for victims
of the terrible floods which have ravaged northern Pakistan".

Bilawal also sought to play down speculation over his
political future, by saying that he intended to further his
academic and political knowledge and was considering studying
law.
PTI

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