Should Pakistan return to the Commonwealth?

April 21, 2008

musharraf.jpgForeign Secretary David Miliband says Pakistan has made democratic progress and should be re-admitted to the Commonwealth.

He has pointed to the extension of press freedoms and the re-establishment of constitutional rules. New Prime Minister Yusuf Raza Gillani, a member of the Pakistan People’s Party (PPP), whose leader Benazir Bhutto was assassinated in December, was sworn in last month.

He has promised to cut back on ministers’ perks and re-establish student and trade unions.

Pakistan was suspended from the Commonwealth in November 2007 because of President Pervez Musharraf’s imposition of emergency rule. It had previously been suspended in 1999 as well, after Musharraf seized power in a coup.

Do you think the time is right for it to be re-admitted? Could it be that the organisation — and much of the West in general — has failed to appreciate the dangerous security reality in which the country lives, with large areas of its border regions sympathetic to the Taliban and Al Qaeda?


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Yes, it’s time Pakistan was back in the Commonwealth.

Its exclusion didn’t harm the people at whom it was aimed : it contributed to isolation of those who should be encouraged to travel and benefit from overseas education with Commonwealth asistance. (Few people in Pakistan are concerned about the Commonwealth in any event : it’s widely regarded as irrelevant.)

It is not only in Pakistan that there are many people sympathetic to al Qaeda. But even then, this should not be a criterion for membership of the Commonwealth.

Posted by beecee | Report as abusive

Commonwealth is nothing more than a moral authority. It cannot impose sanctions or any economic or political penalties. Whether Pakistan is in or out, does not make any tangible difference. However, as an organization of ex-British colonies, commonwealth certainly does provide Pakistan’s political system a sort of moral legitimacy as well as a forum to interact with other countries with whom it shares a common past. So, yes, Pakistan should try and get back into the commonwealth.

Posted by Safdar Jafri | Report as abusive

Yes, Pakistan should be admitted back into the Commonwealth immediately so this regretful episode can finally end. It was wrong to use the Commonwealth as a leveraging tool and remove Pakistan considering the very serious security situation they were facing at that time from multiple angles. Instead, the Commonwealth should have extended their hand out to Pakistan as Pakistan has been our biggest ally in the war on terror.

Posted by Alex | Report as abusive

[...] hunt for blog-appropriate stories today, I found that several British media outlets – BBC News and Reuters UK in particular – asked their readers for feedback, probing the question, “Should Pakistan be [...]

Won’t this upset the applecart for the number of Pakistanies that are so anti-West! Good luck to the Government for wanting the Pakistani people to benefit from improving cultral understanding and communications with other countries. Perhaps through this path ‘both sides of the fence’ won’t take such a stereotypical view of one another. Fingers crossed.

Posted by Conscientious Observer | Report as abusive

[...] hunt for blog-appropriate stories today, I found that several British media outlets – BBC News and Reuters UK in particular – asked their readers for feedback, probing the question, “Should Pakistan be [...]

No! Pakistan must first eliminate her terror factories in all their forms and manifestations. Send their Saudi friends (al-Qaeda) home or to Uncle Sam.
Pakistan MUST stop using terrorism and religious extremism as an intrument of policy or waging war, which should be enough as an argument to exclude Pakistan from the UN itself, not to mention the Club of the Colonial Glory&Nostalgia (Commonwealth).

West will soon regret its ambivalence policy toward Pakistan, which needs to be taken pretty seriously. It doesn’t help the “war on terror” if you send too early and wrong signals to the “genious” strategists in Islamabad and Rawalpindi. Nothing has changed. al-Qaeda is stronger and more dangerous than ever, and they are based in Pakistan.

Posted by Kabura | Report as abusive

No, thanks. Pakistan does not need commonwealth membership. It is a reminder of british rule, nothing else. We need to be independent of any and all influences. After all they have set it up to serve themselves.

Posted by MMA | Report as abusive

i think that pakistan should be restored to commonwealth after a democratic process of pakistan which is already started exact after the elections of 2008.

Posted by SUHAIB | Report as abusive

Yeah, why not. At the end of the day, we all play cricket.

Posted by Tom Morgan | Report as abusive