Pak urges C’wealth to delay suspension decision

Islamabad, November 21:

Pakistan has asked the Commonwealth to delay a decision on whether to suspend it from the organisation over President Gen Pervez Musharraf’s imposition of emergency rule, the Foreign Ministry said today.

Britain and its former colonies had warned Pakistan that it would suspend its

membership at a meeting of foreign ministers beginning tomorrow in Kampala, Uganda, unless the emergency was lifted and Musharraf quit his post as army chief.

In a phone call with his British counterpart yesterday, Pakistan’s caretaker PM Mohammedmian Soomro asked for a “short postponement” of the decision, Foreign Ministry spokesman Mohammed Sadiq said. Attorney General Malik Mohammad Qayyum said if the Supreme Court, as expected, rejects a final challenge on Thursday to Musharraf’s re-election, then he would hang up his uniform within days.

Musharraf’s spokesman today denied as “nonsense” reports that Musharraf had met exiled former PM Nawaz Sharif during a trip to Saudi Arabia from where Musharraf returned earlier today .

Benazir Bhutto has deferred a decision on whether to spurn the election. Many high-ranking leaders, such as cricket star turned politician Imran Khan and Aitzaz Ahsan, president of the Supreme Court Bar Association, remained in prison.