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Pakistan’s Stocks Rally Most in a Week Amid Opposition Support

Pakistan’s stocks rose the most in a week after opposition parties rejected demands by a cleric that the nation’s parliament be sacked.

The benchmark Karachi Stock Exchange 100 Index gained 0.7 percent to 16,291.09 at the close of trade in Karachi, the most since since Jan. 8. National Bank of Pakistan, the country’s biggest lender by assets, rose 2.1 percent, the steepest gain since Nov. 30. Engro Corp., Pakistan’s second-biggest business group, gained 2.2 percent or 85.64 rupees

Opposition parties led by the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz have refused to render support to Tahir-ul-Qadri, a cleric who has gathered thousands of supporters on the streets in the capital Islamabad calling for reforms, yesterday. His supporters had started gathering since last week.

“The announcement by the opposition parties yesterday has rallied confidence among investors,” Faisal Bilwani, head of international equity sales at Elixir Securities Pakistan Ltd. in Karachi, said by phone. “The understanding between the opposition and government is what is causing the rise.”

A team of lawmakers comprising government allies reached Qadri’s protest camp to negotiate a peaceful settlement with the cleric after he offered to talk to the government.

The KSE-100 Index tumbled the most in 17 months on Jan. 15 after the Supreme Court ordered the arrest of Prime Minister Raja Pervez Ashraf amid allegations of graft. The chairman of the anti-corruption agency told the chief justice today there isn’t enough evidence to arrest Ashraf and others accused of graft in awarding power contracts.

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