Pakistan decries its suspension from Commonwealth
The 53-nation group of former British colonies suspended Pakistan Thursday in protest of General. Musharraf's declaration of emergency martial law.
Pakistan denounced its suspension from the Commonwealth Friday, a day after the 53-nation group of former British colonies announced its decision, reprimanding Pakistan's President Pervez Musharraf for his declaration of emergency martial law. Deutsche Presse-Agentur reports that Islamabad "called the Commonwealth's decision to suspend Pakistan's membership "unreasonable and unjustified."Skip to next paragraph
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"The decision does not take into account the objective conditions prevailing in Pakistan," the Foreign Ministry in Islamabad said in a statement. "The emergency was a necessary measure to avert a serious internal crisis which is being addressed and the situation is now returning towards normalcy," it added.
The Commonwealth's decision was handed down Thursday, reports The Daily Telegraph of London, a week after the group warned Pakistan that it would face suspension if emergency rule were not lifted.
Eight foreign ministers from the club of former British colonies, including David Miliband, the [British] Foreign Secretary, condemned Gen Musharraf's imposition of emergency rule and suspended Pakistan with immediate effect. "This decision was taken in sorrow, not in anger," said Mr. Miliband. "I'm absolutely clear that democracy and the rule of law are the best allies of stability in Pakistan." The ministers, who met in Kampala, Uganda's capital, on the eve of a full summit of Commonwealth leaders, noted Pakistan's failure to "fulfil its obligations in accordance with Commonwealth principles".
In particular, the ministers criticized Mr. Musharraf's failure to resign as chief of Pakistan's Army, his suspension of the Constitution, and his detention of judges and members of the political opposition. The suspension prevents Pakistan from attending a summit of Commonwealth nation leaders beginning Friday in Uganda.
The Commonwealth, made up primarily of Britain and its former colonies, consults and cooperates "in the common interests of their peoples and in the promotion of international understanding and world peace," according to its website. In particular, the group "stresses the need to foster international peace and security; democracy; liberty of the individual and equal rights for all; the importance of eradicating poverty, ignorance and disease; and it opposes all forms of racial discrimination."
Although most of its members were former British colonies, the Commonwealth does not grant Britain any control over its member states. The Commonwealth's current head of state is Queen Elizabeth II, but her position is largely symbolic.