DATE=10/29/1999 TYPE=CORRESPONDENT REPORT TITLE=PAKISTAN / COMMONWEALTH (L) NUMBER=2-255620 BYLINE=AYAZ GUL DATELINE=ISLAMABAD CONTENT= VOICED AT: INTRO: After concluding a two-day fact finding trip to Pakistan, representatives of the Commonwealth of former British colonies say they failed to get a date from the country's military rulers for the return of democracy to Pakistan. As Ayaz Gul reports from Islamabad, the mission was also unable to see ousted Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif who has been under detention since his removal from power earlier this month (October 12th). TEXT: This was the first high-level visit to Pakistan by a foreign delegation since a bloodless military coup removed the elected government of Prime Minister Sharif. The leader of the Commonwealth delegation to Islamabad, Lloyd Axworthy, says his group found no desire, on the part of the coup leader, General Pervez Musharraf, for a long period of military rule. /// AXWORTHY ACT /// While General (Pervez) Musharraf did not commit to a specific time frame, we did receive a commitment from him to achieving certain benchmarks of progress, including the reform of electoral processes and the establishment of a fully independent electoral commission. /// END ACT /// After the military forces took control of Pakistan, General Musharraf suspended the country's constitution and parliament and declared himself the chief executive of the country. Mr. Axworthy says the mandate of his Commonwealth mission was to explore with the military regime its plans for an early return of democracy to Pakistan. While he received no timetable of when the military would surrender power, Mr. Axworthy says the military leaders stressed their intention to observe normal democratic practices. /// AXWORTHY ACT TWO /// We received assurances that the rule of law will be upheld, fundamental human rights, including freedom of association and speech, will be protected, and that there will be due process of law for those detained in the aftermath of the military takeover. Progress in these respects will be a continuing concern to CMAG (Commonwealth Ministerial Action Group). /// END ACT /// The commonwealth mission also sought a face-to- face meeting with the ousted Prime Minister but General Musharraf ruled that out, insisting instead on a telephone interview. Mr. Axworthy says his mission was told that Mr. Sharif declined such an interview. /// AXWORTHY ACT /// Despite assurances that we could have telephone contact with Mr. Nawaz Sharif, this did not take place. The choice of contact was his and he declined to be in contact with us by telephone. We were therefore, unable to obtain any direct verification of Sharif's health and legal status. /// END ACT /// The delegation will present the findings from its two-day mission to a meeting next month in South Africa of Commonwealth heads of government. This meeting will determine whether Pakistan will remain suspended from future meetings of the 54- nation Commonwealth. (Signed) NEB/AG/KL 29-Oct-1999 13:28 PM EDT (29-Oct-1999 1728 UTC) NNNN Source: Voice of America .