Islamabad, Nov 14: Expressing its deep concern over the demands made by the Commonwealth Ministerial Action Group (CMAG) on the issue of lifting the emergency, Pakistan has made it clear that it won"t be able to accept them by November 22, Foreign Office sources revealed.
“It will be difficult for Pakistan to meet all five conditions, but some of them can be met," the Daily Times quoted them, as saying.
They went on to say that major countries in the nine-member CMAG have no problem with the emergency in Pakistan, but smaller countries have failed to understand the problem Pakistan is facing.
“The statement (of CMAG) reflects ignorance to the ground realties and the enormity of the challenges faced by Pakistan and undermines the efforts vital for maintaining political stability and preserving the ongoing political process in the country," a FO press statement said.
The international community must also understand that such a situation would have constricted the ability of the Pakistan Government to counter militancy and terrorism that posed a grave threat not just to Pakistan, but also to the world, it added.
It further said that Pakistan will follow its own road map to transition to democracy as outlined by President General Pervez Mushrraf, adding that the decisions on issues of vital importance will be taken in accordance with “our national interests and requirements and not in observance of any artificially set timelines from outside."
The 53-member Commonwealth has given Musharraf 10 days to lift emergency, doff his uniform and release political prisoners, immediate removal of all curbs on private media broadcasts and restrictions on the press, move rapidly towards the creation of conditions for the holding of free and fair elections in accordance with the Constitution, or face suspension for the second time in less than ten years.
“The CMAG welcomed the announcement by Musharraf that parliamentary elections will be held before January 9 2008, but stressed that such elections would not be credible unless the state of emergency is removed and constitutional rights of the people, political parties and independence of the judiciary are restored," Commonwealth secretary-general Don McKinnon said in a statement.
When asked why the Commonwealth did not suspend Pakistan from the group, McKinnon told reporters, “We have given Pakistan a little breathing space between now and then to comply."
The CMAG is meeting again on the eve-of the Commonwealth Heads of Governments Meeting (CHOGM) in Kampala on November 22.