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Monday, October 18, 1999 Published at 15:03 GMT 16:03 UK


Commonwealth suspends Pakistan

Pakistan's military has suspended the country's constitution

Pakistan has been suspended from the Commonwealth because of the military takeover last week.

Pakistan in crisis
The decision was announced at an emergency meeting of the organisation's foreign ministers in London.

Ministers have called on the military regime in Islamabad to set a timeframe for the restoration of a democratic government in Pakistan.

The ministers will send a mission to meet the military leaders to press for the return of civilian rule.

The measure is more of a symbolic gesture than one with practical consequences.

However, other sanctions are likely to follow - from the US, Europe and the International Monetary Fund - and their impact on Pakistan's already virtually bankrupt economy would be much more serious.

Chief-of-staff General Pervez Musharraf assumed the position of chief executive on Thursday night after ousting Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif.

Mr Sharif remains in "protective custody" at an undisclosed location.

As well as declaring a state of emergency and giving himself sweeping powers, Gen Musharraf has suspended the constitution, dissolved the legislatures and ended hope of an early return to democratic rule.

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