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Pakistan President Targeted by Shoe-Throwing Protester in Birmingham

August 12, 2010 by  


Pakistan’s president Asif Ali Zardari narrowly avoided being hit by a pair of shoes after a protester attempted to attack him during a speech in Birmingham over the weekend.

Sardar Mohammed Shamim Khan, 57, was led away by police after hurling his shoes at Zadari on Saturday in protest at the president’s handling of the Pakistani flooding crisis.

Khan, from Coventry in the West Midlands, said he was angry that Zadari was visiting the UK amid the worst flooding in his country’s recent history.

Khan said: “I could feel the anger brewing up inside me as Zardari talked about the floods in Pakistan. I thought we have a crisis back at home and all he can do is take a trip around Europe while his own people are suffering.”

He added: “I thought his speech was insulting to my people who are dying because of Zardari’s government. He is a disgrace and I had to let my feelings be known in a way he would remember.”

The Pakistan president was speaking at an invite-only political rally organised by the UK branch of Zadari’s Pakistan People’s Party at the Birmingham International Convention Centre which was attended by more than 2,000 people.

While hundreds stood outside to protest at Zadari’s presence, Khan managed to sneak inside the venue and sat around 20 metres away from Zardari. Khan then threw his shoes at the president as he shouted “Allah is the only one who can give and take lives.” Fortunately for the president, one shoe narrowly missed while a second was deflected by a security guard.

Although the incident was caught on Pakistani cable TV channel PTV, which was live streaming the event, it was reportedly edited out while Zadari’s party officials downplayed the incident.

The protest reflects growing resentment felt towards the president for continuing his visit to Britain despite the devastation caused by the floods at home in Pakistan. Zadari’s government has also been severely criticised for its shambolic efforts to deliver aid and assistance to those affected by the floods, which has killed thousands and left the army to rescue more than 100,000 stranded.

Khan said he had no regrets about his attempted attack on the Pakistan premier. “I am proud of what I did and feel all my prayers have been answered. He should go back to Pakistan immediately and apologise for his lack of sympathy. Then he should resign.”

Khan was cautioned by police before being released.

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