INDEPENDENT NEWS

NZ must join opposition to Pakistani coup

Published: Fri 15 Oct 1999 12:52 AM
Labour Leader Helen Clark today supported international calls for Pakistan's Commonwealth membership to be suspended following the military take-over in Islamabad, and urged the New Zealand Government to follow suit.
"The actions of the Pakistani military, in overthrowing and arresting the democratically elected Prime Minister, Nawaz Sharif, is beyond the pale and must be condemned in the strongest manner possible.
"I urge the New Zealand Government to support the call from South Africa for Pakistan to be suspended from the Commonwealth until the restoration of democracy.
"The Commonwealth is a grouping of democratically-elected countries. It suspended Fiji after its military coup in 1987. Nigeria was suspended from the grouping when it ignored human rights and executed opponents of the military regime in 1995.
"It now needs to act decisively with regard to Pakistan before the next Commonwealth heads of government meeting in Durban in November. The New Zealand Government must add its weight to the international pressure on the Pakistani military," Helen Clark said.

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