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World Leaders Condemn Suicide Attacks in Pakistan


World leaders are condemning Thursday's suicide attacks in Karachi targeting former Pakistani Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto. As VOA's Cindy Saine reports from Washington, a State Department spokesman said the United States stands with the people of Pakistan to eliminate the threat of terrorism, and to build an open, democratic and peaceful society.

State Department spokesman Tom Casey expressed U.S. dismay about the deadly bomb attacks.

"The United States condemns this terrorist attack that was conducted during a peaceful rally for former Prime Minister Bhutto and her party members, and we do send our condolences to the victims of that attack," he said.

Casey noted that Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf and the government of Pakistan have condemned the attack and that Mr. Musharraf has promised a full investigation.

"We do not know who is responsible for this terrible attack," he said. "But we hope that the individuals who are, are found and brought to justice. We do not wish to see any actions take place that would undermine the democratic process in Pakistan or make it harder for the Pakistani people to have an opportunity to express their views in free and fair elections."

Casey said the United States has offered assistance to Pakistan in dealing with the aftermath of the attacks. Britain's Prime Minister Gordon Brown also pledged his country's support.

"The message must go out that we will not tolerate this terrorist violence, we will give support to the Pakistani authorities in dealing with those terrorists who have caused the bombings and we will support at all times the attempts by the Pakistani people to re-establish a democracy in their country," he said.

United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon expressed shock and extended his condolences to the families of the victims. China and the European Union also denounced the attacks.

Former Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif also condemned the attacks targeting Ms. Bhutto. In an interview with VOA's Urdu Service Thursday, Mr. Sharif said the blast was the worst and deadliest in Pakistan's history. He said he called Ms. Bhutto to convey his concerns.

Mr. Sharif was overthrown by Mr. Musharraf in 1999. In September, he traveled back to Pakistan after seven years in exile but was immediately deported.

Indian Foreign Ministry spokesman Navtej Sarna called the developments reprehensible, and said the threat of terrorism requires determined action by all governments in the region. Neighboring Bangladesh also released a statement of support for Pakistan.

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