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Commonwealth is the name of an international organization. Queen Elizabeth II is the head of this organization. This organization can also be called an intergovernmental organization. It is sometimes called an organization of “like-minded” peoples or an organization of peoples with a “common way of life.
The total members of this organization are 54 in numbers including the United Kingdom.
The member states are not bound to join it. They can join it or withdraw from it. The member states are from different races, cultures, traditions and from different economic backgrounds but all share a common language, to some extent similar administrative as well as judicial systems. Almost all the members of this organization were once the colonies of Britain. This organization has certain principles although it has no constitutional structure and those principles are the promotion of democracy, rule of law, individual liberty, free trade, human rights and multilateralism. All the member states work with each other within a frame work of these principles.
Significance for member countries.
If any Commonwealth member country wants to promote its economy then this forum may prove very helpful for her because it is evident that many developed as well as underdeveloped countries develop their economies on this forum through different agreements. For the development of the countries in economic and social sectors, the organization,s secretariat provides technical assistance to the particular government of the respective country. Commonwealth Secretary-General is called the head of the secretariat. It is the central agency of Commonwealth which maintains interaction and cooperation among member states.
The Commonwealth games are very popular in the world. After every 4 years these games are held. The goal of these games is to promote the friendly relations between Commonwealth countries and to share their sporting and cultural heritage. Another important feature of the Commonwealth is that of literature. Commonwealth writer’s prize is also given to the best writers to encourage the best writers of the member countries.
Pakistan and Commonwealth.
Pakistan is also a member of the Commonwealth and is one of the countries who got freedom from the British rule. Pakistan emerged as an independent state on 14th August 1947. After independence Pakistan as well as India became members of the Commonwealth. There are two groups of people who give their opinion regarding the membership of Pakistan in Commonwealth. One school of thought has the opinion that Pakistan should have not joined the Commonwealth because Pakistan rejected Mountbatten as its Governor-General while India accepted his offer. So India would have more good relations with Commonwealth then Pakistan and if any issue arises between the two states then Britain would likely favour India. The second school of thought has the opinion that Pakistan should not withdraw from it because the problems that Pakistan is facing can be solved through this platform. They have the opinion that on this forum every country is considered equal and many issues with India and other countries can be resolved on the basis of equality. Historically, first school of thought proves its point of view through uninterested or at least far behind then the required role of the Commonwealth in the solution of Kashmir problem. The United Nations and Commonwealth could not give substantial results on many longstanding issues between the both neighbours. The right of self-determination has not been given to the people of Kashmir and they are still being oppressed and persecuted by the Indian state. In case of ex-Italian colonies and Palestine the attitude of certain members of Commonwealth was shocking for Pakistan as well as for the Muslim world. So, from these examples an opinion has developed that the membership of the Commonwealth has not been so worthwhile as was being expected. However, if the opinion of second school of thought is analysed one comes to realize that the membership of this organization is not only a source of pessimism. Pakistan can get many benefits through this forum with practical approach. As Security issue is a very serious concern for Pakistan, it can get help from this forum and can try to meet this serious challenge. Furthermore, Pakistan can get technical assistance from other member countries to improve her security apparatus. Pakistan is a developing country and its economy is declining day by day. So Pakistan can improve its economy as many other member countries have used this platform to develop their economies.
So it can be concluded that the membership of this forum can be used for better results if careful and emotion free diplomacy is practiced. In past there were many ups and downs in the relationship between the Pakistan and The Commonwealth. History vindicates the fact that in 1974 when Pakistan withdrew from this organization it was in loss and it faced severe consequeces. In 1989 it rejoined this organization and till now it has been the member of this organization except a brief period of suspension following the declaration of emergency by the Dictator General Musharraf.