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‘UK to help Pak rejoin Commonwealth’

world Updated: Apr 23, 2008 02:15 IST
Vijay Dutt

While praising Pakistan’s transition to democracy, David Miliband, foreign secretary has stated that he would help the country rejoin the Commonwealth.

The re admission issue is on the Commonwealth Ministerial Action Group (CMAG) agenda following the 1st meeting that took place after Kamlesh Sharma became Secretary General, on May 12th at the Marlborough House, London.

Pakistan had its membership suspended in November just before the CHOGM following the imposition of emergency in his country.

It was noted by some observers that Miliband’s offer of help to Pakistan came on the heels of it test-firing a long-range nuclear-capable missile that could strike deep into India. When asked to comment on this a diplomatic source told HT, “ David Miliband is just one member of the CMAG. The issue would be considered by all the members.”

Other members currently include the Foreign Ministers of Ghana, Malaysia, Namibia, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea, St Lucia, Sri Lanka, Uganda, and the United Kingdom.

The source added that CMAG addresses serious and persistent violations of the Commonwealth’s values and principles. The restoration of the National Assembly is a sign of return to the democracy. The emergency was lifted some time ago, so there is no reason not to readmit Pakistan. “ The only snag could be the failure to restore the ousted judges.”

When Pakistan was suspended from the Councils of the Commonwealth on 22nd November 2007, CMAG at that time agreed to review progress in Pakistan after the scheduled elections, which eventually took place on February 18, 2008. A new Government has now been installed in Islamabad, the sources in the Commonwealth Secretariat told HT.

Previously, Pakistan was suspended from the Councils of the Commonwealth in October 1999 and was restored to full membership in May 2004.