Paul Waugh, Deputy Political Editor
The government moved to calm the row with Pakistan today as Cabinet minister Baroness Warsi prepared to meet President Zardari for private talks on security, trade and flooding.
The Pakistan-born peer, the first Muslim Cabinet minister, was deputed by David Cameron to smooth relations before crunch talks at Chequers this Friday.
Mr Zardari faced further pressure over his five-day trip to Britain as critics claimed he should be at home helping to co-ordinate its flood relief efforts.
Former cricketer Imran Khan said that the president should have postponed his "lavish" visit, during which he has stayed at a family chateau in France and a five-star hotel in London.
British diplomats also privately pointed out that Mr Cameron's remarks about terrorism were "nothing" compared with President Zardari's own criticism of his country's ISI intelligence service.
When his wife Benazir Bhutto was assassinated, Mr Zardari "all but accused Pakistan and its intelligence agencies of colluding with the terrorists", said one source.
"He's an even harsher critic than we are. The Foreign Office is running around in a panic apologising to everyone, when actually the PM meant what he said."
No 10 is also bemused by criticism from shadow foreign secretary David Miliband because this weekend he admitted that it was "an open secret" that the ISI had links to the Taliban.
The Cabinet Office refused to comment on Lady Warsi's talks, except that they would be about "bilateral relations". Amid security concerns, even the location and timing of the talks was kept secret.
Her links to Pakistan are deemed so important that Foreign Secretary William Hague last month sent her to Islamabad.
During the trip, she praised President Zardari for his efforts to combat terrorism, remarks that were well received. She and British High Commissioner Adam Thomson said at the time that they appreciated the efforts of the Pakistan government and its security forces against militancy.
It is understood that Mr Thomson was not given a dressing down in Islamabad, contrary to reports from within the country.
Asked why he believed Mr Zardari should have stayed in Pakistan, Mr Khan, the former Pakistan cricket captain, who is in the US raising money for a cancer hospital and the flood victims, told GMTV: "Him, as the head of state, should be in Pakistan. Any talks can be postponed surely the priority should be your own people. And then to go on this lavish tour. This money could be used on the victims.
"Remember Pakistan is bankrupt right now so the government doesn't have enough money. So he should be mobilising people to help these victims of the floods."