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Pakistan rejects C’wealth deadline

November 14, 2007

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ISLAMABAD, Nov 13: Pakistan on Tuesday expressed deep disappointment and regret over a statement issued by the Commonwealth Ministerial Action Group (CMAG) and rejected its demands of restoring the Constitution and lifting emergency.

“The statement reflects ignorance of the ground realties and the enormity of the challenges faced by Pakistan and undermines the efforts vital for maintaining political stability and preserving the ongoing political process in the country,” says a statement issued by Foreign Office here on Tuesday.

The Commonwealth on Monday gave Islamabad a 10-day deadline to restore the Constitution and lift emergency or face suspension from the 53-nation grouping.

The FO statement said that the emergency was imposed in extraordinary circumstances to avert an institutional breakdown and internal crisis that could have paralysed the government, causing incalculable harm to the country.

“The international community must also understand that such a situation would have constricted the ability of the government to counter militancy and terrorism that posed a grave threat not just to Pakistan but to the whole world,” the statement said, adding that the government was committed to a full democratic rule.

The statement further said that the assemblies were shortly to complete their tenure, caretaker governments were about to be formed and the president had announced elections to be held before January 9, 2008.

“Pakistan will follow its own roadmap to transition to democracy as outlined by the president. Decisions on issues of vital importance will be taken in accordance with our national interests and requirements and not in observance of any artificially set timelines from outside.