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Government comment on Pakistan suspension

23 November 2007 Media Statement

Government comment on Pakistan suspension

The New Zealand Government has today welcomed the action of the Commonwealth Ministerial Action Group to suspend Pakistan from the Councils of the Commonwealth.

“New Zealand has been following developments in Pakistan closely,” Acting Foreign Affairs Minister Michael Cullen said.

“The Prime Minister – who is currently attending the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting in Uganda – and Minister of Foreign Affairs have both expressed the Government’s deep concern at President Musharraf’s decision to impose emergency rule in Pakistan.

“We have called for free and fair elections as scheduled in January 2008, President Musharraf stepping down from his military post as promised, an end to media restrictions and the release of detainees.

“We made it clear that we expected the Commonwealth to send a clear message in support of the restoration of constitutional and democratic government in Pakistan.

“I am pleased that the Commonwealth Ministerial Action Group (CMAG) has now sent a clear message to this effect to Pakistan.

“CMAG has concluded that, while Pakistan has made some progress, the state of emergency has not been lifted, the constitution and independence of the judiciary have not been restored, and fundamental rights and the rule of law remain curtailed, and so has suspended Pakistan from the Councils of the Commonwealth.

“Pakistan now joins Fiji which remains suspended from the Councils of the Commonwealth. Fiji’s partners including the Commonwealth have an important part to play in supporting the restoration of constitutional government there.”

ENDS

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