Zardari faces wrath of Zarifi

Rarely in recent months has a visit of a dignitary to these shores caused such a stir as that of the Pakistan President Asif Ali Zardari.

There’s the on-going row over Cameron’s comments that Pakistan’s intelligence service “looks both ways” when it comes to terrorism. That put pressure on Zardari to boycott the visit according to the Guardian and the Telegraph.

Then of course there is the horrific effect of the flooding that has left upwards of 1,500 people dead and affected an estimated 2.5m more in the northwest of the country – and again questions were raised about whether he should even be here when there are so many people suffering. The Independent dedicated the front page and a double-page spread to the issue this morning.

And of course there’s human rights. Zardari has an awful lot to answer for. Issues include enforced disappearances, extrajudicial executions, counter-insurgency operations and the blasphemy laws to name but a few!

Over the last 24 hours, Amnesty has been busy telling a wide audience of its concerns.

Sam Zarifi, Amnesty’s Deputy Programme Director for the Asia-Pacific region, was on Morning Reports and Breakfast on Radio 5 this morning. He then spoke to Sunrise Radio before dashing down to Millbank for an interview with the BBC News Channel at 11.30 this morning. And thanks to an interview with Sky News Radio yesterday, he’s also been clipped into commercial radio across the UK with Scotland’s Central FM one of the main stations to air his dulcet tones.

Let’s hope that David Cameron tunes in to one of them and takes the chance to raise our concerns when he finally meets Zardari on Friday.

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Our blogs are written by Amnesty International staff, volunteers and other interested individuals, to encourage debate around human rights issues. They do not necessarily represent the views of Amnesty International.
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