KAMPALA, Uganda: November 22, 2007. The 53-nation Commonwealth suspended Pakistan from the organization Thursday for failing to end emergency rule, the group said.
The Commonwealth, largely made up of Britain and its former colonies, gave Pakistani military ruler Gen. Pervez Musharraf a Thursday deadline to lift emergency rule and step down as army chief.
A committee of foreign ministers "has suspended Pakistan from councils of the Commonwealth pending restoration of democracy and rule of law in the country," said Secretary-General Don McKinnon. The decision came during the meeting in Kampalpa, Uganda.
"The state of emergency had not been lifted. The constitution and the independence of the judiciary not restored and fundamental rights and the rule of law remain curtailed," McKinnon said, reading a statement on behalf of the ministers.
Pakistan was last kicked out of the organization in 1999 after Musharraf seized power in a coup. It took the country five years to be reinstated.
British Prime Minister Gordon Brown told reporters on Thursday that Musharraf has assured him that he will "do his utmost to lift," the state of emergency before January parliamentary elections and step down as army chief "as soon as possible."