The irony of this, of course, is that back in April, British police submitted to the idea of shoe-throwing as a ritual form of protest among Muslims, rather than an act of assault.
Surely, Zardari deeply appreciated the culturally sensitive accommodation of this practice.
“Pakistan president heckled at UK political rally,” by Paisley Dodds for the Associated Press, August 7:
BIRMINGHAM, 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.
More on that can be found here. Cameron’s words could not have been more carefully chosen not to offend, and as a result, did not even begin to go far enough. What did it get him?
“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….