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British Commonwealth Threatens to Suspend Pakistan Over Emergency


British Commonwealth foreign ministers have threatened to suspend Pakistan from the 53-member grouping if President Pervez Musharraf does not lift emergency rule by November 22.

The Commonwealth Ministerial Action group made the statement after holding a meeting in London Monday on Pakistan's political crisis.

This is not the first time Pakistan has been suspended from the Commonwealth.

Pakistan was suspended for five years after General Musharraf seized power in a coup in 1999.

He justified declaring a state of emergency, saying it is necessary to curb attacks by extremists and an activist judiciary. Under emergency rule, thousands of lawyers and opposition activists have been arrested, demonstrations have been banned and the Supreme Court justices fired. Independent broadcasters have been taken off the air as well.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP, AP and Reuters.

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