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OpEdNews Op Eds    H3'ed 8/9/10

President Zardari of Pakistan is pelted with shoes at the UK rally

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Message Abdus Sattar Ghazali
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Taking cue from the Iraqi journalist, Muntadhar al-Zaidi, who threw both of his shoes at the then President George Bush to protest against the US invasion and occupation of his country, Shamim Khan from Azad Kashmir hurled both of his shoes at Pakistan's unpopular President Asif Ali Zardari who was addressing a community gathering in Brimingham, UK on Saturday. President Zardari was pelted with shoes to protest his current visit to the United Kingdom.

Reporting the shoe throwing incident Daily Telegraph of London said: "Mr. Zardari, who is under criticism for visiting Britain while Pakistan is suffering from devastating floods, was in the middle of a speech when an elderly man in the 1,000 strong crowd hurled both shoes at him. The gesture is considered a traditional insult in Islam. An unidentified man was later ejected by police and security officials from the meeting, which was marked by noisy protests outside."

"Zardari was in the middle of a long campaign speech when a man towards the back of the crowd hurled the shoes at him," said one eyewitness. "They landed short of him, and it wasn't clear what exactly the man was protesting about."

There has been a bitter criticism of his visit to London on two grounds. It is argued that the president should not visit the United Kingdom leaving the hapless people of Pakistan at the mercy of raging floods where at least 1600 people have been killed and millions have become homeless. The president should share the miseries of Pakistani nation in such worst condition.

However, the prime reason for a bitter opposition to Zardari's visit to UK is British Prime Minister David Cameron's comments in India last month in which he supported the Indian point of view that Pakistan is exporting terrorism to India. Speaking at the Infosys Technologies' campus in Banglore, Cameron said: "We cannot tolerate in any sense the idea that this country is allowed to look both ways and is able to promote the export of terror, whether to India or Afghanistan or anywhere else in the world."

Shamim Khan, who belongs to Zardari's Pakistan Peoples Party, told the Geo TV network that he threw shoes at President Zardari to protest his meeting with the British Prime Minister. He added said that this is also a protest against all his anti-people policies.

Cameron's statement was bitterly criticized by the government of Pakistan and all the political parties and media commentators. President Zardari was urged to cancel his visit to London to protest Cameron's statement.

British Prime Minister's scathing and ruthless criticism against Pakistan has caused great anger among the members of Pakistani and Kashmiri community in UK. They believe that Cameron deliberately targeted Pakistan while it overlooked the war crimes of India and worst violation of human rights in Kashmir.

The statement of Prime Minister Cameron encourages India to kill more innocent people and continue with violating human rights of Kashmiri people, said Mohammad Ghalib, President, Tehreek-e-KashmirUK. Ghalib further said India has launched a fresh campaign to link Pakistan with terrorism with the aim to divert attention of international community from the worst situation in Kashmir.

Adding insult to injury, during his talks with Prime Minister Cameron, President Zardari did not bring his anti-Pakistan statement into discussion. This also fomented anti-Zardari demonstrations in UK. Scores of people staged protest demonstrations outside the Convention Centre on the occasion of President Asif Ali Zardari's address to his party meeting in Birmingham.
Hundreds of people belonging to opposition parties and the civil society participated in the demonstrations. Heavy contingent of police stopped the protesters from entering into the Convention Center, however they continued their protest Zardari outside the center.

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Abdus Sattar Ghazali Social Media Pages: Facebook page url on login Profile not filled in       Twitter page url on login Profile not filled in       Linkedin page url on login Profile not filled in       Instagram page url on login Profile not filled in

Author and journalist. Author of Islamic Pakistan: Illusions & Reality; Islam in the Post-Cold War Era; Islam & Modernism; Islam & Muslims in the Post-9/11 America. Currently working as free lance journalist. Executive Editor of American (more...)
 
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