Pakistan faces isolation from the Commonwealth

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The Independent Online

Representatives of the 54 nations of the Commonwealth are meeting in London to discuss action following last week's military coup in Pakistan. It is expected that Pakistan will be expelled from the organisation.

Representatives of the 54 nations of the Commonwealth are meeting in London to discuss action following last week's military coup in Pakistan. It is expected that Pakistan will be expelled from the organisation.

Commonwealth Secretary General Emaka said that he expected those gathered to send a signal that undemocratic behaviour was unacceptable. Foreign Secretary Robin Cook has also indicated that he expects Pakistan's membership to be suspended, and that he will consult further with Britain's partners on how to put further pressure on Pakistan's military leaders.

Last night Pakistan's new military ruler, General Pervez Musharraf, announced a package of radical reforms and confidence-building measures with India but has given no date for fresh elections.

Expulsion from the Commonwealth may have limited impact on General Musharraf in comparison with the prospect that the US and others may go ahead with threats of economic sanctions. However, there are fears that futher pressure on Pakistan's economy may just make this nuclear state even more unstable.

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