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EDITIONS
Monday, 4 November, 2002, 10:29 GMT
Should Pakistan be readmitted to the Commonwealth?
Talking Point: Pakistan
Pakistan remains suspended from Commonwealth meetings following talks between the organisation's foreign ministers in London on Friday.

The country was suspended after a military coup in 1999, but recently held elections to restore civilian rule.

Commonwealth Secretary General Don McKinnon said the ban would remain until the role of democratic institutions in the country became clearer.

Many feel that there are still questions over whether President Musharraf is really committed to handing over power.

But Pakistan's high commissioner in London said the country had been governed well over the last three years.

What do you think? Should Pakistan be readmitted to the Commonwealth?

This debate is now closed. Read a selection of your comments below.


Your reaction


Let Pakistan sort out her internal problems

Dr Behjat H. Syed, Karachi, Pakistan
It is up to the Commonwealth to decide whether it wants Pakistan or not. All non-Pakistanis who comment that she shouldn't be admitted due to flaws in democracy should realise they're making assessments regarding internal matters of Pakistan. This attitude is resentful and confrontational. Let Pakistan sort out her internal problems. Her involvement in Commonwealth might enrich the community of nations but would do nothing for the common Pakistani just as has been the case in the past.
Dr Behjat H. Syed, Karachi, Pakistan

First of all, we need to ask ourselves what the Commonwealth is all about. What's the purpose, the achievements, the significance and the benefits of it? Besides, realistically speaking, the ways things are shaping up for Britain, it's more likely to end up being a "colony" of either the USA or the EU. What then? Are the leaders of Commonwealth states still going to get together every year, as representatives of former colonies of a present-day colony?
Abbas, Pakistan

Compared to what we have seen over the last few years of 'democratic' governments, President Musharraf's government has done well for the country and its people. His government has brought back some level of normality from the highly corrupt governments of Sharif and Benazir. As far as rejoining the Commonwealth, does it really matter?
Khalid Aziz, Saudi Arabia


I see no reason for Pakistan's continued suspension from the Commonwealth

Stephen Cavouti, Canada
I do not follow Pakistan's politics on a day-to-day basis, but overall the government of President Musharraf seems very focused. Musharraf's government has certainly helped the international community in its war against terrorism. Even domestically, Pakistan has shown tremendous improvement in terms of economic reforms, education, curbing corruption etc. Though the means by which President Musharraf assumed his post was not right, the policies of his government has certainly proved him to be a better leader than the former democratically elected leaders. I see no reason for Pakistan's continued suspension from the Commonwealth.
Stephen Cavouti, Canada

Pakistan is a sovereign country, it does not need the support of the Commonwealth. The sun did set on the British Empire several decades ago.
Ahmed Nawab, USA

Since Pakistan has shown a willingness to return democracy to its land, I believe it should be readmitted fully or perhaps on a trial basis. However, why should Pakistan want to be in the Commonwealth? It has no real power and is unlikely to acquire any in the future. Southern Ireland and the USA are examples of former British territories that survive well without the Commonwealth and have little desire to enter it.
Dave, Scotland, UK


Pakistan does not deserve to be in the United Nations

Jvalant Sampat, Princeton, New Jersey, USA
The Commonwealth is by and large a politically unimportant organization, but it does have some norms. Really, in my opinion Pakistan does not deserve to be in the United Nations, let alone in the Commonwealth.
Jvalant Sampat, Princeton, New Jersey, USA

The Commonwealth is nothing but a joke and a waste of time and expenses. This body in the past 50 years has brought nothing fruitful to Pakistan. Who needs it? Pakistan is much better off without it.
Hammad Shaikh, Denmark

As long as Pakistan continues to sponsor terrorism it should not be allowed to join the Commonwealth.
Harry, USA


The Commonwealth is an out of date institution

Hashir Rasul, Canada
The Commonwealth is an out of date institution. It should do Pakistan a favour by not allowing it readmission. It will save Pakistan the cost of trips to useless Commonwealth summits.
Hashir Rasul, Canada

What does Commonwealth stand for except for some ceremonial novelties? Have they got any agenda or future goals? What have they achieved for member countries in last 50 years? The Commonwealth should realize that they have to radically overhaul themselves to achieve anything positive for the people of the world today. The way things stand today Pakistan should be more than happy to stay out of the Commonwealth to avoid another administrative nuisance.
R Shah, USA, India

No, as long as Musharraf holds power in any form, Pakistan should not be readmitted.
Saleem, Pakistan

Yes, Pakistan should definitely be readmitted to the Commonwealth now. It is totally unfair to deny the common man in the street the privileges of being in the Commonwealth for the mistakes of its leaders in the past.
Dr. Enoch, India


The Commonwealth is a community of nations that upholds democratic values

Dr.Rajinder Sehgal, Canada
The Commonwealth is a community of nations that upholds democratic values though genuine elections and not a flawed one as is the case with Pakistan. President Mushurraf holds the power to dismiss any elected government not to his taste. Won't the Commonwealth make a mockery of its traditional values by admitting Pakistan?
Dr.Rajinder Sehgal, Canada

What did Pakistan get when it was in the Commonwealth? If our economy is getting better and people are happy, than who needs to be in the Commonwealth?
Khurram Khan, Pakistan

Of course Pakistan should be readmitted to the Commonwealth. Pakistan has done its share helping to bring a modicum of normality to the lives of the Afghanis.
Andrew, New Zealand

By keeping Pakistan out of the Commonwealth, only political agendas are being satisfied. In reality, it is unlikely to have a real effect on Pakistan's economy whether or not they are a part of the Commonwealth!
Afzal M, Canada

Pakistan should be readmitted to the Commonwealth. It would definitely send a message to Pakistan about the dividends that they can reap by becoming democratic.
Shyam, India


The government should make the people of Pakistan happy not the Commonwealth

Mahmood, Pakistan
If Pakistan can live happily after being suspended from the Commonwealth for three years, then why do we have to beg for readmission? The government should make the people of Pakistan happy not the Commonwealth.
Mahmood, Pakistan

I believe that Pakistan should be re-instated to the Commonwealth, as it is apparent that most of the people of Pakistan are content with the improvements that the current administration have made. If they are happy with President Musharraf then who are we to argue?
Peter Bradley, United Kingdom

It's only fair, South Africa was readmitted.
Justin, Connecticut


The recently concluded elections were a "sham"

Jatin, India
It will the most unfortunate thing if Pakistan is readmitted to the Commonwealth. The recently concluded elections were a "sham" and state machinery was in full swing to ensure a favourable outcome for King's party PML(Q).This view was supported by the European Union observers as they called the elections "seriously flawed".
Jatin, India

The Commonwealth should wait and see if Pakistan keeps it word and restores Parliamentary Democracy.
Neville Sloane, UK/Canada

I should say yes, as the decision to expel Pakistan was not just in the first place as it didn't hurt the government but the people of Pakistan. More importantly the Commonwealth should not follow the USA's policies like the Blair govt is doing, which is based purely on their own interests. The Commonwealth should show some character and should have its own policy independent of influential powers of the world
Khalid, Pakistan


What really matters now is, whether Pakistan wants to re-join the Commonwealth or not?

Baig M.Z., Singapore
Pakistan has been suspended and re-admitted before and has managed to live without being a member of the Commonwealth for quite a few years. What really matters now is, whether Pakistan wants to re-join the Commonwealth or not?
Baig M.Z., Singapore

Commonwealth countries should realise the importance of a true democracy in Pakistan, in view of current crises of terrorism around the world. Holding elections does not mean everything is normal. Long term vision and policy needs to be formulated to ensure the peace and stability in the region.
Narendra Likhe, India

Pakistan should be readmitted as Commonwealth member.
Tommy, USA


I don't see why Pakistan should be kept out of the Commonwealth

Siddiqui, Pakistan
President Musharraf has delivered on the promise he made for the restoration of democracy. I don't see why Pakistan should be kept out of the Commonwealth now.
Siddiqui, Pakistan

Musharraf's Pakistan

Democracy challenge

Militant threat

Background

TALKING POINT

FROM THE ARCHIVES

BBC WORLD SERVICE
See also:

01 Nov 02 | South Asia
25 Oct 02 | South Asia
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