Pakistan on Tuesday rejected a Commonwealth ultimatum to end emergency rule in 10 days or face suspension, expressing “deep disappointment and regret” over the deadline.
The ultimatum came after emergency talks among the Commonwealth Ministerial Action Group (CMAG) in London to decide how to respond to Army Chief Pervez Musharraf's declaration of a state of emergency in Pakistan on November 3.
Secretary-General Don McKinnon said that, if Musharraf failed to meet its demands by a ministers’ meeting on the eve of a November 23-25 Commonwealth summit in Uganda, Pakistan will be suspended as a member.
“CMAG agreed that at its next meeting on the 22 (of) November, if after review of progress Pakistan has failed to implement these necessary measures, it will suspend Pakistan from the councils of the Commonwealth," he told reporters.
"We have given Pakistan a little breathing space between now and then to comply" with the demands, he added, when asked why they did not suspend Pakistan straightaway.
McKinnon said that Pakistan had "seriously violated the Commonwealth's fundamental values" and said it should be addressed in a certain way.
The Group, which under the chair of Michael Frendo, Foreign Minister of Malta, took an unusually long four hours to decide its course of action. It urged Pakistan to fulfil its obligations in accordance with Commonwealth principles.
In their statement, Ministers strongly deplored the abrogation of Pakistan’s Constitution through a Provisional Constitutional Order and the proclamation of emergency, which they noted had been undertaken outside the provisions of the Constitution.