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Pak PM Gilani says terrorism main priority

world Updated: Mar 29, 2008 13:50 IST
Kamran Haider
Pakistani PM Gilani says terrorism main priority

Pakistani Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani laid out plans on Saturday for his coalition government's first 100 days in power, saying the fight against terrorism would be top of his agenda.

Gilani, a top official from assassinated former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto's party, secured the unanimous approval of the National Assembly earlier on Saturday without a vote of confidence after the opposition said it supported him.

A new prime minister is required by the constitution to secure the backing of the lower house of parliament.

Shortly after the National Assembly speaker announced that Gilani had secured unanimous approval, he began to lay out his government's plans.

"Terrorism and extremism are our greatest problems. They have put the country in danger. Therefore, it is our first priority to bring peace to the country and fight terrorism," Gilani said.

He added that the government would be willing to talk to militants who laid down their arms.

Bhutto's party won the most seats in a February 18 parliamentary election and is forming a coalition government with the party of another former prime minister, Nawaz Sharif, and two smaller parties.

The election was a setback for President Pervez Musharraf, with the main party that backs him coming a poor third.

Musharraf has been a steadfast US ally since the September 11 attacks on the United States, but his support for the US-led campaign against terrorism has been deeply unpopular with many Pakistanis.

After speaking about terrorism, Gilani moved on to the considerable economic problems facing the country.