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Monday, August 09, 2010

Protester Throws Shoes At Pakistan President Asif Ali Zardari During UK Visit

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IRMINGHAM, England — Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari wrapped up his to Britain by addressing a political rally Saturday, facing criticism and protesters for touring overseas as floods killed more than 1,500 people in his country.
One heckler threw a shoe at Zardari during the event, missing the president, while outside the convention center police cordoned off more than 100 protesters.
Zardari told supporters his trip to Britain had been a success, and that he had raised tens of thousands of pounds for flood victims at home. Some 2,000 people crowded into the Birmingham convention center to listen to the visiting leader and other speakers from his Pakistan People's Party.

Facing domestic criticism for his trip during a time that his nation battles deadly floods, the Pakistani president's U.K. trip had also been fraught because it came so soon after British Prime Minister David Cameron accused Pakistan of exporting terror. The remarks outraged many Pakistanis and caused a diplomatic row, in part because they were made during Cameron's visit to India, Pakistan's nuclear rival.
"We have a good relationship with the British government and the problem has been resolved with the help of British Pakistani MPs (lawmakers,)" he said Saturday at the rally where posters of his slain wife, Former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto, covered the walls. He was flanked by his daughter, Asifa, who wore a white head scarf.
Some protesters raised placards that read "U.S.A. out of Pakistan and Afghanistan." Many Pakistanis are angry about U.S.-led forces within Pakistan and increasing military operations in the frontier and tribal border areas.
"Too many Pakistani civilians have lost their lives because of this foreign-led war," said a protester who identified himself as Iqbal Najid, 32.
The Telegraph reports that the shoes aimed at Zardari came from an elderly man:
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...
Earlier in the day Zardari's son and co-chairman of the PPP, Bilawal Bhutto Zardari, appealed for donations to help Pakistani flood victims in London.

Pakistan flood survivors struggling

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Survivors of Pakistan's worst floods on record seek food and shelter, as concerns grow over the spread of water-borne diseases.
More than 1,000 people have been killed and and more than a million are displaced.

Flood in Pakistan

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Pakistan Floods Hit Millions

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