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Last Updated: Friday, 8 July, 2005, 15:17 GMT 16:17 UK
S Asia leaders deplore UK blasts
Police in London
South Asian leaders have united in condemnation
South Asian leaders have condemned the attacks on London that killed at least 50 people and injured many others.

The leaders of India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Afghanistan, Sri Lanka and Nepal have all sent messages of sympathy to the British government.

But the condemnation has not been unanimous. A prominent Pakistani politician suggested that the attacks could a plot to denigrate Muslims.

He said the blasts could be intended to turn public opinion against Islam.

'Global scourge'

South Asian leaders deplored the attack in the strongest terms.

President Musharraf
The people of Pakistan stand together with the people of United Kingdom in this very trying moment
Pervez Musharraf

In a statement released through the foreign ministry, Indian Prime Minister, Manmohan Singh, said that the attacks underscored the fact that "terrorism is a global scourge" which has to be tackled by "concerted international action".

Mr Singh, who is attending the G-8 summit in Scotland, said that global terrorism did not respect national boundaries, and that countries of the world needed to work together to fight it.

Staff at Indian call centres have been working overtime to cope with the volume of enquiries about Britain's transport network after the bomb attacks.

One company based in Mumbai (Bombay) said that calls had doubled since the attacks, which brought the transport system in and around London to a near-standstill.

The Pakistani President, Pervez Musharraf, offered his condolences to Britain for the loss of life, and called for "a joint fight against terrorism".

"It is imperative that we stand together and further strengthen our bonds of cooperation to eliminate this menace," the president said.

But not all Pakistani politicians condemned the attacks.

Indian newspapers
How the press sees it

A senior leader from a coalition of radical Islamic political parties, the Muttahida Majlis-e-Amal (MMA) suggested that the attacks might have been orchestrated by the West as a strategy to turn public opinion against Muslims.

"This is very tragic," said Liaqat Baluch, a prominent lawmaker from MMA.

"But this could also be a strategy by Europe and America to line up against Muslims. They are directly saying that Muslim groups or al-Qaeda are behind these bombings. Then how can it be ruled out that these are not engineered blasts?" he asked.

'Western conspiracy'

The BBC's Aamer Ahmed Khan says that Mr Baloch's comments reflect a widely held belief among Pakistan's religious organisations and their supporters that the war on terror is "a creation of the West" to bludgeon Islam and Muslims.

Scene of one of the London bombs
Condolence messages have come in from all over South Asia

Our correspondent says that while most Pakistanis reacted with horror to the news, religious organisations believe that the 11 September attacks in Washington and New York were "a conspiracy hatched by the Jews to turn the West against the Muslim world".

President Hamid Karzai of Afghanistan said that the attack was aimed at killing innocent civilians.

"This is an attack not against a city, this is an attack not against a nation - this was an attack against the whole of mankind," he said.

But as in Pakistan, not every one in Afghanistan shared the president's views.

Despite strict security and layers of intelligence checks, the men in the shadows have been able to strike in the heart of Britain
The News newspaper, Pakistan

"The people of Britain are facing trouble because of the evil deeds and oppression of their rulers, Taleban spokesman Abdul Latif Hakimi told the Reuters news agency from an undisclosed location.

Sri Lankan President Chandrika Kumaratunga condemned the attacks and said people of Sri Lanka "know only too well" the devastation caused by terrorists.

The governments of Nepal and Bangladesh have also condemned the attacks and expressed their sympathy to Britain.




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