Pakistan set to be readmitted to Commonwealth

May 12th, 2008 - 4:39 pm ICT by admin  

By Dipankar De Sarkar
London, May 12 (IANS) Expelled for flouting democratic norms, Pakistan is set to be readmitted to the Commonwealth Monday after general elections ushered in a democratic government in February. The decision on whether to readmit Pakistan is to be taken by the Commonwealth Ministerial Action Group (CMAG), which addresses serious and persistent violations of the Commonwealth’s core values and principles.

Commonwealth Secretary General Kamalesh 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 at the November summit in Kampala after President Musharraf declared emergency rule.

Sharma, former Indian high commissioner to Britain, has made the promotion of democracy in South Asia a top priority in his new job.

With the region accounting for 70 percent of the Commonwealth’s population, Sharma said recently that if democracy could take firm root in the region it would give a “huge boost” to the Commonwealth’s principles of good governance.

The CMAG will also consider political developments in Fiji, which was suspended from the Commonwealth in December 2006 following a military coup.

The CMAG is composed of the foreign ministers of nine Commonwealth countries, which currently are Britain, Ghana, Malaysia, Namibia, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea, St Lucia, Sri Lanka and Uganda.

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