Commonwealth summit to debate Pak’s membership post-emergency

November 19th, 2007 - 5:23 pm ICT by admin  

London, Nov.19 (ANI): The biennial Commonwealth Summit in Ugandan capital, Kampala is likely to decide whether Pakistan is to be thrown out of the Commonwealth because of President Pervez Musharraf’s refusal to rescind the state of emergency he declared on November 3.
According to The Independent, all the signs are that General Musharraf will not have taken off his uniform in time for the summit, and will hold elections in January, under the state of emergency. And that means that pressure will be on to expel Pakistan.
According to the paper, the African and Pacific states say that it would be hypocritical to keep the Commonwealth membership of Zimbabwe and Fiji suspended while letting Pakistan stay in. It is particularly sensitive this year when an African country is summit host.
Pakistan was suspended a first time from the Commonwealth after General Musharraf seized power in 1999. It was allowed to return in 2004 on condition that he shed his uniform. Many Commonwealth countries believe the organisation should stop giving him the benefit of the doubt in the name of the “war on terror”.
Nobody likes being ejected from a club, and the Commonwealth is quite a popular one, with countries queueing up to join. So no country likes to be expelled. Although every two years people ask “what’s the point of the Commonwealth?”, it has survived as a thriving North-South network, providing an opportunity for leaders to gather informally so that the prime minister of a small country such as St Lucia can give the prime minister of a larger country like Britain a piece of his mind.
The summiteers will also select by secret ballot a successor to Don McKinnon, the popular outgoing secretary-general from New Zealand. (ANI)

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