Friday, November 23, 2007

Commonwealth Suspends Pakistan

Just days after President George Bush's emphatic declaration that Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf "truly is somebody who believes in democracy," the 53 member Commonwealth of Nations has acted upon a wholly contrary conclusion.

Thursday, Pakistan was suspended from the Councils of the Commonwealth because of the Musharraf government's continuing repudiation of democracy and the rule of law.

CTV reports:

Pakistan was suspended from the 53-nation Commonwealth on Thursday over President Pervez Musharraf's failure to lift imposition of emergency rule and meet a deadline to restore democracy in the country.

The Commonwealth Ministerial Action Group (CMAG), a committee of nine foreign ministers empowered by the Commonwealth to make such decisions, agreed to turf Pakistan during a meeting in Uganda.

The decision came following Prime Minister Stephen Harper's call earlier in the day for Pakistan's removal.

...The Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting involves 53 member states, all linked together by Britain's colonial legacy.

Hindu News Update Service also reports:

Kampala, (PTI): Acting tough, the Commonwealth has suspended Pakistan after President Pervez Musharraf failed to meet a deadline to lift emergency and step down as army chief.

The "CMAG (Commonwealth foreign ministers) suspended Pakistan forthwith from the councils of the Commonwealth, pending the restoration of democracy and the rule of law in that country," Commonwealth Secretary General, Don McKinnon, told reporters after an extended late night sitting.

As does BBC News:

Pakistan barred from Commonwealth

Pakistan has been suspended from the Commonwealth because of its imposition of emergency rule, the organisation has announced after a meeting in Uganda.

Secretary General Don McKinnon said Pakistan was being suspended "pending restoration of democracy and the rule of law".

A senior Pakistani official said the government regretted the suspension.

- Garry J. Wise, Toronto

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