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Pak asks C'wealth to defer decision on suspension

The Commonwealth Foreign Ministers' meeting is being held at Kampala in Uganda and CMAG's decision on whether to suspend Pakistan will be known by tomorrow

world Updated: Nov 21, 2007 20:54 IST

Seeking to ward off diplomatic isolation, Pakistan on Wednesday asked the Commonwealth to defer a decision on suspending it from the international grouping over the emergency in the country as the top government lawyer said President Pervez Musharraf may doff uniform by this weekend.

In a letter written to heads of governments of the countries that are members of the Commonwealth Ministerial Action Group (CMAG), caretaker Prime Minister Mohammedmian Soomro said the "political situation in Pakistan was returning to normalcy".

The CMAG comprising Foreign Ministers of nine countries including Britain had told Musharraf that Pakistan would be suspended from the Commonwealth if he did not end emergency, shed his uniform and free jailed activists by November 22.

The Commonwealth Foreign Ministers' meeting is being held at Kampala in Uganda and CMAG's decision on whether to suspend Pakistan will be known by tomorrow.

Pakistan government said that CMAG "should have a short postponement of its decision" and sends a delegation to Pakistan to assess the situation in the country, Foreign Office spokesman Mohammad Sadiq told reporters here.

Soomro also took up the matter when British Premier Gordon Brown telephoned him last night. He briefed Brown on political developments in Pakistan and the caretaker government's "principal mandate" of holding the general election scheduled for January 8.

He "reaffirmed that the elections will be free, fair and transparent" and poll observers from abroad will be welcome.

Earlier, Attorney General Malik Qayyum said that the issue of Musharraf's uniform "is now a matter of days."