Commonwealth suspends Pakistan for emergency rule

KAMPALA, Nov 22, 2007 (AFP) – A Commonwealth ministerial committee Thursday decided to suspend Pakistan from the 53-nation bloc pending the return of the rule of law following the imposition of emergency earlier this month. The CMAG comprises Britain, Canada, Lesotho, Malaysia, Malta, Papua New Guinea, St Lucia, Sri Lanka and Tanzania. A Commonwealth heads of government meeting was due to start on Friday in the Ugandan capital. “CMAG suspended Pakistan forthwith from the councils of the Commonwealth, pending the restoration of democracy and the rule of law in that country,” according to a statement read by Commonwealth Secretary General Don McKinnon.

Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf declared a state of emergency on November 3, placing the chief justice under house arrest, detaining lawyers, rights activists and opposition members and curbing press freedoms.

“CMAG agreed that notwithstanding some progress by the Pakistan government since its last meeting, the situation in Pakistan continued to represent a serious violation of the Commonwealth’s fundamental values,” said the statement.

An ultimatum issued 10 days ago by the 53-state organisation of mostly former British colonies for Musharraf to end emergency