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Blasts a conspiracy against democracy: Musharraf

October 19, 2007 16:58 IST

Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf on Friday telephoned former prime minister Benazir Bhutto to offer his condolences over the death of her party supporters in the deadly blasts at her homecoming parade in which she escaped unhurt.

"The president and Ms Bhutto both expressed their unflinching resolve to fight the scourge of extremism and terrorism," Musharraf's spokesman Maj Gen Rashid Qureshi said, adding the president hoped "they would refrain from unnecessary blame throwing."

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"They also agreed that there is a need for the entire nation to unite in order to rid the country of this menace of suicide bombings, terrorism and extremism," he said.

While condemning the attack, Musharraf said it was a "conspiracy against democracy" and asked the nation, specially the people of Karachi, to exercise patience and calm in this hour, the state-run APP news agency reported.

Musharraf also directed the Sindh province government to hold an inquiry and submit a report within 48 hours, Dawn News channel said.

Extremists can strike whenever

Asked about media reports that Bhutto had blamed supporters of late dictator General Zia-ul Haq for the attack on her, Qureshi said the president, during the telephonic conversation, told her that he hoped "maturity and restraint would be displayed in this hour of tragedy by all and that they would refrain from unnecessary blame throwing." The president "appealed to segments of society to facilitate the police and administration in the conduct of the investigation," Qureshi told Dawn News.

Asked about the probe, Qureshi said it was continuing. "Sometimes early indication as to what has been discovered becomes counter-productive. As things get confirmed we will share it with you."

During his conversation with Bhutto, Musharraf condoled the deaths in the blasts.

The president expressed his firm resolve that all possible steps would be taken to carry out a thorough investigation to bring the perpetrators of the attack to justice.

He said extensive security measures were taken on Thursday in consultation with Bhutto's Pakistan People's Party leaders to ensure the safety of her convoy.

Musharraf prayed for the safety and security of Bhutto, who returned home on Thursday after eight years in self-imposed exile, during the call.

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