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Commonwealth to closely watch Pak, says Sharma

"In the case of Pakistan, there can be rapid developments now in the coming months," says the new Secy-Gen.

world Updated: Nov 24, 2007 19:35 IST

The Commonwealth will be closely monitoring the situation in emergency-ruled Pakistan, which has been suspended from the 53-nation grouping for failure to restore democracy, the Secretary General-elect Kamalesh Sharma indicated on Saturday.

"In the case of Pakistan, there can be rapid developments now in the coming months," Sharma said at a joint press meet with Minister of State for External Affairs Anand Sharma.

Last ditch efforts by Pakistan to stall a decision on its suspension was rejected by the grouping which wanted President Pervez Musharraf to lift emergency and restore democracy. General elections are due in Pakistan in January.

"Depending on what these developments are, I have no doubt that the Commonwealth Ministerial Action Group (CMAG) will be observing them and addressing them accordingly," Sharma said in response to questions in the context of Pakistan's suspension from the Commonwealth.

He said the CMAG was created especially to look into "periods and situations where the Commonwealth needs to see what action can be taken when there is derogation. All these principles which CMAG are looking at are the principles which the member States have given to themselves.

"So, this is what all of us agreed to do and in this case (Pakistan), we need to see what are the departures and take a view on it," he said.

In every case, if there was a derogation, Sharma said, the objective of the CMAG and the Commonwealth was to see how quickly it could be vacated and "what can be done so that the earlier condition is restored".

First Published: Nov 24, 2007 18:24 IST