Pakistan readmitted to Commonwealth (Lead)

May 12th, 2008 - 8:25 pm ICT by admin  

A file-photo of Pervez Musharraf
By Dipankar De Sarkar
London, May 12 (IANS) Pakistan was Monday readmitted to the Commonwealth nearly six months after it was suspended for flouting democratic norms of the international body. The decision was taken after a meeting here Sunday night of the Commonwealth MInisterial Action Group (CMAG), the trouble-shooting body responsible for ensuring adherence to the Commonwealth principles of democracy, good governance and human rights.

“CMAG agreed that, since it last met on Nov 22, 2007, the government of Pakistan had taken positive steps to fulfil its obligations in accordance with Commonwealth fundamental values and principles,” said Commonwealth Secretary-General Kamalesh Sharma.

“It accordingly decided that Pakistan is now restored to the councils of the Commonwealth,” Sharma added.

The group, which comprises nine Commonwealth foreign ministers, welcomed the fact that Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf, who had imposed emergency Nov 3, had given up his role as army chief.

CMAG noted several other steps towards restoration of democracy in Pakistan including the lifting of emergency provisions, the holding of general elections, lifting of curbs on media, the release of political detainees and the most contentious issue - the independence of judiciary.

Sharma had said April 16 that he hoped Pakistan could soon be readmitted to the 53-nation Commonwealth, describing the February general elections as “very welcome”.

Pakistan was suspended from the 53-nation Commonwealth at the November summit in Kampala after Musharraf declared emergency rule.

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