Monday, October 18, 1999 Published at 17:29 GMT 18:29 UK
Analysis: Commonwealth's symbolic snub
The Commonwealth's decision is largely symbolic
By South Asia analyst Jannat Jalil
The Commonwealth decision is unlikely to make much of an impact on the Pakistani military government or the Pakistani people - its significance is merely a symbolic one.
And Pakistan has been outside the organisation before.
In 1972, Prime Minister Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto left in protest at the Commonwealth's decision to admit Bangladesh.
Pakistan, which has $32bn worth of foreign debts and is facing the prospect of bankruptcy, will be far more interested in the response of those countries which can help it out of its economic difficulties - in particular, the United States, which will influence whether or not the IMF resumes vital loans, which had been suspended even before last week's military coup.
While expressing disappointment that no timeframe has been set for a return to democracy in Pakistan, it seems to be indicating that it is prepared to wait and see if the country's new military ruler, General Musharraf, can deliver on his promises to restore Pakistan's battered economy and institutions.
US more cautious
In an interview with the BBC, the American ambassador, William Milam, painted a positive picture of the general, saying he had not understated the problems that Pakistan faces.
The ambassador dismissed reports that General Musharraf was an extremist, describing him instead as a moderate and temperate man.
He said the United States had also been heartened by the General's call for dialogue with India.
Pakistan has already been heavily sanctioned after its nuclear tests last year.
The international community will be wary of taking further punitive measures which could destabilise the world's newest nuclear power and which could aid the rise of Islamic extremists there.