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Commonwealth suspends Pakistan pending rule of law restoration

[JURIST] Commonwealth foreign ministers meeting in Uganda [meeting website] announced Thursday that they had agreed to suspend Pakistan from the group of 53 nations "pending the restoration of democracy and the rule of law in that country." A statement [text] issued by the Commonwealth Ministerial Action Group [official website] (CMAG) said that despite progress in Pakistan since President Pervez Musharraf imposed emergency rule on November 3, the conditions it had set out [JURIST report] earlier in the month for avoiding the country's suspension had not been met: the state of emergency had not been lifted, the Constitution and independence of the judiciary had not been restored, and "fundamental rights and rule of law remain curtailed." CMAG concluded that Pakistan therefore continued to represent a serious violation of the Commonwealth’s fundamental political values set out under its Harare Declaration [text] and would be excluded from participation at all inter-governmental Commonwealth meetings and activities. The Telegraph has more.

This is the second time Pakistan has been suspended from the Commonwealth in recent years. It was last excluded in 1999 immediately after Musharraf led a military coup against a civilian government. That exclusion lasted until 2004.

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