India not in loop on Pakistan’s likely suspension from Commonwealth: Pranab

November 21st, 2007 - 1:51 pm ICT by admin  

By Pankaj Chaudhary
Sana’a (Yemen), Nov 21 (ANI): External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee has said that India is out of the loop on the Commonwealth threat to suspend Pakistan from its membership.
Mukherjee said India, which is not a part of the nine-member Commonwealth Ministerial Action Group (CMAG), would not be involved in the process of suspension.
“That Commonwealth Heads of Governments will have to decide, and so far as we are concerned, we don’t want to be involved with it. It will be decided at the meeting of the Heads of Governments at the Commonwealth. They will have the opportunity of looking into the report of the CMAG, and after deliberating on it, whatever appropriate steps, they will like to have it,” Mukherjee said during a brief stopover in Sana’a, Yemen, en route to Ugandan capital Kampala to attend the Commonwealth Summit.
The Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) will discuss the CMAG report on Pakistans suspension on Thursday.
The CMAG, in an extraordinary meeting in London on November 12, laid down a five-point criteria for Pakistan to retain its Commonwealth membership, including releasing of political leaders, lifting of the emergency and the curbs on the media, the holding of free and fair election and the restoration of the Constitution.
Meanwhile, Pakistan has begun the release of over 5,000 lawyers, opposition and rights activists who were detained under the emergency powers invoked by President General Pervez Musharraf two weeks ago, the Interior Ministry said on Tuesday.
The Pakistan Foreign Office, expressing deep disappointment and regret over the CMAG statement, said it would not be possible to meet “all the demands” before the November 22 deadline set by the Commonwealth.
Mukherjee said India wanted a “peaceful and stable” neighbourhood.
“Now, we are emphasizing on having peace and stability in all our neighbourhood. Because one of our objectives under the chairmanship of India of SAARC is that we can develop and prosper together. For that economic development, peace and trouble-free conditions are necessary not only in India but also in our periphery. From that point of view we would like to see that Pakistan gets back to normalcy as early as possible,” Mukherjee said.
Denying that India is backing the candidature of Mohan Kaul, Director-General and Chief Executive Officer of the Commonwealth Business Council (CBC), Mukherjee hoped India’s candidate Kamlesh Sharma would be elected as the Secretary General of the Commonwealth.
“He is not India’s candidate (regarding Kauls candidature). Somebody can offer his candidature. It appears chances ( of Kamlesh Sharma) are good and bright,” Mukherjee said.
Sharma’s only rival to the November 23 vote is Michael Frendo, the Foreign Minister of Malta. (ANI)

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