Gilani for probe in Karachi clashes amid opposition's boycott

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Islamabad, Apr 10 (UNI) Pakistan Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani today promised a thorough probe into yesterday's violent clashes between supporters and opponents of President Pervez Musharraf in Karachi, which left at least nine people dead.

Mr Gilani's assurance came after opposition parties led by former ruling dispensation and pro-Musharraf Pakistan Muslim League-Quaid (PML-Q) staged the first-ever boycott from National Assembly. They were protesting against yesterday's violence in Karachi and earlier attacks on former Sindh chief minister Arbab Ghulam Rahim and ex-minister Dr. Sher Afgan in Karachi and Lahore respectively.

It is still not clear as to who were the attackers.

Prime Minister Gilani described them as elements, who wanted to derail the democratic process, though the government was trying to bring about consensus and national cohesion.

''I am convinced that these acts were being fuelled by those who do not want democracy to flourish--Instead they want to derail the democratic process through which this government is aspiring to bring about consensus, tolerance and national cohesion,'' Mr Gilani stressed.

He said before specifically naming anybody, it is imperative to clarify and establish the motive and expose faces of those behind these incidents.

He called for taking notice of these mischievous and apparently conspirational acts which, he added, were being fuelled by those who do not want democracy to flourish.

''I can assure the nation in general and this house in particular that we will not allow these anti-democratic forces to succeed in their unholy attempts,'' he said.

Prime Minister Gilani said the corner stone of government's policies are based on principles of non-violence, reconciliation and taking everybody along towards strengthening and ensuring the supremacy of parliament.

''Let it be known to the nation that we shall not allow the sacrifices of our leaders and thousands of others in cause of democracy to be compromised at the behest of dictatorship, conspiracy and violence,'' remarked the Pakistan People's Party (PPP) leader.

He appealed to all sections of society, groups, parties and individuals to exercise tolerance and practice accommodation and adhere to the law.

''If we do not do that we may again be subjected to the dark years of tyranny and dictatorship from which we have just started to come out,'' cautioned Mr Gilani, who got unanimous vote of confidence last month from the assembly in a gesture otherwise unprecedented in Pakistan's parliamentary history.

Former Punjab chief minister and now opposition leader of PML-Q in the National Assembly, Pervaiz Elahi said before staging the walk out that opposition's gesture should not be construed as its weakness.

''We have decided to stage a boycott against the worst violence in Karachi and attacks on our two top leaders,'' he declared.

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