Friday, October 29, 1999 Published at 10:07 GMT 11:07 UK
World: South Asia
Analysis: Little concern over Commonwealth
The generals have paid little heed to Commonwealth threats
By South Asia analyst Jannat Jalil
There has been little interest in the Commonwealth visit, despite its threat to suspend Pakistan from the organisation.
That is probably why Pakistani newspapers haven't given prominent coverage to the trip - some preferring to concentrate instead on the recent visit by a senior Japanese government envoy.
Japan was Pakistan's biggest aid donor until sanctions were imposed last year in response to Pakistan's nuclear tests.
The Pakistani Government says it would regret suspension from the Commonwealth, but seems not to be too concerned about it.
Even President Rafiq Tarar - once considered a close ally of the deposed prime minister Nawaz Sharif - is reported to have told the Commonwealth delegation that it was necessary for the military to take over to carry out urgently needed economic reforms.
Pakistan's relations with the Commonwealth have historically been turbulent.
Islamabad withdrew from the organisation for 17 years after Britain's recognition of Bangladesh, which had broken away from the rest of Pakistan with the military help of India.
However, the organisation turned him down repeatedly because his was not a democratically government.
All that changed with the election of Benazir Bhutto's government, which took office in 1989. She hoped that membership would provide Pakistan with education possibilities, particularly in Britain, in addition to securing more overseas investment.
US stance important
Amongst ordinary Pakistanis, the main reaction, when there has been one, is of anger at the Commonwealth's threats following the recent coup.
Far more important to them than the Commonwealth reaction, will be what the United States has to say.
The US has relaxed some of the sanctions it originally imposed on Pakistan following the coup - now allowing the country to receive American bank loans and agricultural credit guarantees.
Yet another signal that it seems prepared to give the new military government a chance to prove that it can restore the country's battered economy.