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C'Wealth urges Musharraf to separate dual offices

world Updated: Jun 16, 2007 17:12 IST

As Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf plans to seek re-election later this year without shedding his Army uniform, the Commonwealth has reminded the General of the 2007 deadline set by it for him to separate the two offices.

During a meeting with Musharraf in Islamabad, Michael Frendo, the Foreign Minister of Malta, currently the Chair of the 53-nation Commonwealth, reminded him about the grouping's 2007 deadline for him for separation of offices of the President and Army Chief.

The Maltese Foreign Minister "mildly" expressed the Commonwealth's position on the issue in accordance with the letter and spirit of Pakistani Constitution and within the stipulated timeframe, sources said.

Musharraf, it is learnt, made it clear to Frendo that he would not do anything unconstitutional.

The Pakistan President recently said that he planned to seek re-election in uniform despite threats of the opposition parties to resign en mass.

Parliamentary Affairs Minister Sher Afghan Niazi also said on Friday that Musharraf would go ahead with his plans to get re-elected in uniform by existing national and provincial assemblies between September 15 and October 15 this year.

As the current Chairman of Commonwealth Ministerial Action Group (CMAG) on the Harare Declaration, Frendo has been tasked to prepare a report on Pakistan which is still on the group's agenda.

The next meeting of the CMAG, at which Pakistan's case will be taken up, is scheduled for September on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly in New York. The meeting will be followed by the biennial Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting in Kampala, Uganda, in November, a report in 'Dawn' said.