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Pakistan Calls Commonwealth Suspension 'Unjustified'


Pakistan's Foreign Ministry says it "deeply regrets" the country's suspension Thursday from the 53-nation Commonwealth group of former British colonies. Officials called the decision "unreasonable and unjustified". VOA's Barry Newhouse reports from Islamabad.

Pakistan's Foreign Ministry said the decision by the Commonwealth Ministerial Action Group does not take into account the conditions inside Pakistan.

In a statement read on state television, the Foreign Ministry expressed its disappointment.

The ministry said imposition of emergency rule was to prevent an internal crisis in the country and said the government is committed to restoring democracy.

The ministry said it has asked the Commonwealth to send a delegation to Pakistan to assess the situation.

The 53-nation group notified Pakistan earlier this month that its membership would be suspended unless it lifted emergency rule, freed political prisoners and scheduled national elections by November 22.

Pakistan was suspended from the Commonwealth for five years following General Musharraf's coup in 1999, but was re-admitted after making democratic reforms.

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