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Suspend Pak from Commonwealth, says CHRI

world Updated: Nov 06, 2007 11:26 IST
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Condemning the proclamation of emergency in Pakistan, Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative has sought the suspension of the Islamic Republic from the Councils of Commonwealth for violating democratic principles.

"CHRI calls on the Commonwealth to immediately condemn these actions and suspend Pakistan from the Councils of the Commonwealth, while the Commonwealth continues to engage with and support civil society working towards an early return to democracy," the NGO said in a statement.

It said "the Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative strongly condemns the proclamation of the state of emergency in Pakistan by Chief of Army Staff General Pervez Musharraf.

The imposition of a totally unwarranted state of emergency interference with the judiciary, dismissal, intimidation and detention of members of the Supreme Court and high courts, mass arrests and target of human rights defenders, are aimed at stifling democracy and peaceful dissent, the statement said.

According to CHRI, political workers and lawyers across the country have also been arrested to prevent any organized opposition to the emergency. The freedom of the media has also been attacked as private news channels have been banned and laws are being amended to further control the press.

"These actions run entirely contrary to the fundamental democratic principles of the Commonwealth. As a member, Pakistan is bound to comply with such principles ," it said.