NEWS: Musharraf becoming more isolated

Failure to meet deadline brings fresh Commonwealth suspension

Pakistan was suspended from the Commonwealth yesterday, for the second time in eight years, after President Pervez Musharraf failed to meet a deadline for lifting emergency rule.

Gordon Brown welcomed the decision late last night in Kampala, Uganda saying the move was necessary and justified. He said Britain would work with the Commonwealth to see that the terms on which Pakistan could be readmitted were met.

The decision came after four hours of talks in Kampala at foreign minister level, with Britain and Canada leading the call for suspension with terms for readmittance. Some of Pakistan’s fellow Asian countries, such as Malaysia, opposed. Smaller countries, including African ones, backed outright suspension. [complete article]

Sharif to end exile and return to Pakistan on Sunday

Nawaz Sharif, the prime minister deposed by President Pervez Musharraf in a coup eight years ago, will return to Pakistan from Saudi Arabia on Sunday, his brother Shahbaz Sharif told a Pakistani news channel.

General Musharraf, under intense criticism at home and abroad for imposing emergency rule three weeks ago, agreed to Sharif’s return in discussions with Saudi King Abdullah in Riyadh this week, according to a leader of the ruling Pakistan Muslim League (PML).

Sharif met King Abdullah in Riyadh for a “farewell meeting” on Friday. [complete article]

Court dismisses legal challenge against Musharraf

President Pervez Musharraf’s script for a tightly controlled political transition moved ahead on cue Thursday, as his hand-picked Supreme Court dismissed the final legal challenge to Musharraf becoming president for another five-year term and officials said he would resign as army chief within days.

Aides and supporters of Musharraf said they hoped that once he is sworn in as a civilian president, probably by this weekend, the barrage of domestic and foreign criticism against his imposition of emergency rule will recede and the nation’s attention will turn to parliamentary and provincial legislative elections now scheduled for Jan. 8. [complete article]

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