- Title: PAKISTAN: Pakistan asks Commonwealth to delay suspension ruling
- Date: 21st November 2007
- Summary: (BN10) ISLAMABAD, PAKISTAN (NOVEMBER 21, 2007) (REUTERS) EXTERIOR OF FOREIGN OFFICE MOHAMMAD SADIQ, PAKISTAN FOREIGN OFFICE SPOKESMAN, ARRIVING FOR NEWS CONFERENCE REPORTER TAKING NOTES NEWS CONFERENCE (SOUNDBITE) (English) MOHAMMAD SADIQ, PAKISTAN FOREIGN MINISTRY SPOKESMAN SAYING: "Prime Minister Mohammadmian Soomro expressed concern that any precipitate decision by CMAG on Pakistan's participation in the Commonwealth would be unfortunate. Instead, CMAG should have a short postponement of the decision and immediately send a delegation to Pakistan to look at the situation in the country." VARIOUS OF SECURITY/ TRAFFIC ON STREETS OF ISLAMABAD VARIOUS OF POLICEMEN WALKING ON ROAD
- Embargoed: 6th December 2007 12:00
- Location: Pakistan
- Country: Pakistan
- Topics: International Relations
- Reuters ID: LVAED77QZ0CD571ST6KSZK0CMEQB
- Story Text: Pakistan calls on the Commonwealth to delay a decision regarding the suspension of the country's membership of the 53-nation grouping because of imposition of emergency rule.
Pakistan has called on the Commonwealth to delay a ruling on whether to suspend the country's membership of the 53-nation grouping because of the imposition of emergency rule, a foreign ministry spokesman said on Wednesday (November 21).
The Commonwealth, mainly comprising of former British colonies, had set Thursday (November 22) as a deadline for President Pervez Musharraf to revoke the state of emergency he imposed on November 3 or face suspension.
The Commonwealth's ministerial action group (CMAG) will meet in the Ugandan capital Kampala on Thursday to discuss the issue.
Foreign Ministry spokesman Mohammad Sadiq told a weekly briefing that caretaker Prime Minister Mohammadmian Soomro spoke to his British counterpart, Gordon Brown, on Tuesday (November 20) night and also wrote to CMAG heads, saying that the political situation in Pakistan was returning to normal.
"Prime Minister Mohammadmian Soomro expressed concern that any precipitate decision by CMAG on Pakistan's participation in the Commonwealth would be unfortunate. Instead, CMAG should have a short postponement of the decision and immediately send a delegation to Pakistan to look at the situation in the country," said Sadiq.
Sadiq said Soomro has asked for "a short postponement of the decision" and has asked the CMAG to send a delegation to Pakistan to assess the situation.
Soomro was appointed last week to oversee an interim government until national elections set for January 8.
Pakistan was suspended from Commonwealth councils in 1999 following a coup that brought General Musharraf to power, but was reinstated to full membership in 2004. It has remained on the CMAG watch list ever since.
The Commonwealth had been putting pressure on Musharraf to step down as army chief and become a civilian leader this year.
There is every chance of Musharraf being sworn in as a civilian president later this week once a court, packed with government friendly judges, strikes down challenges to his re-election by parliament last month while still army chief.
The Commonwealth has voiced other complaints against Musharraf since his imposition of emergency rule.
Among other measures demanded are the restoration of the constitution, and for immediate progress to be made on holding free and fair elections. The Commonwealth had also sought the release of all detainees held since the emergency was announced.
On Tuesday, in a sign that the emergency was being relaxed, Pakistan said it had released most of more than 5,000 detained lawyers, opposition and rights activists, and a remaining 2,000 would be freed soon.
CMAG was established in 1995 to deal with serious or persistent violations of Commonwealth rules on democracy.
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