Commonwealth mulls Pakistan action after poll announcement

LONDON, Nov 12, 2007 (AFP) – Foreign ministers will Monday debate a possible suspension of Pakistan from the Commonwealth at an extraordinary meeting in London after President Pervez Musharraf imposed a state of emergency last week.

Although Musharraf met a key demand of his critics by announcing Sunday that elections would be held by January 9, the Commonwealth Ministerial Action Group (CMAG) is still likely to push for him to take further action, and soon.

Days before the Supreme Court was due to vote on the validity of his October presidential election win, Musharraf announced the clampdown which led to the suspension of the constitution and sacking of the chief justice.

He said Sunday that the state of emergency would only last until the election, whose exact date will be fixed by Pakistan’s elections commission.

His announcement was welcomed by Britain, the most powerful nation at Monday’s meeting, where the other attendees will be Canada, Lesotho, Malaysia, Malta, Papua New Guinea, Saint Lucia, Sri Lanka and Tanzania.

But the Foreign Office in London added: “We still want to see urgent action to restore the constitution, release political prisoners, pursue reconciliation with the political opposition, h