Sky News reported on Saturday that the Commonwealth Secretariat's headquarters made the decision after debating whether Pakistan had made enough progress on democratic reforms to return to the 53-member association of mostly former British colonies.

At the moment, no further details are available.

Pakistan was suspended in 1999 after President Pervez Musharraf seized power through a military coup, but it has gradually been accepted by the global community.

Most notably, Britain and the United States have embraced the nuclear power as a strategic ally in the "war against terror".

Compromise and conditions
 
Although the Commonwealth has taken a tougher line than many other international bodies, some observers say the club should respond to Pakistan's newfound status as a major non-NATO ally and as an economic partner of the European Union.

"They could say, for example, that Pakistan could come back, provided Musharraf does indeed give up as head of the army"

Commonwealth source

Pakistan, which has a population of 149 million, argues it has fulfilled the Commonwealth's demands and says the credibility of the Commonwealth is at stake.

However, an apparent softening of Musharraf's pledge to give up his army uniform and the deportation earlier this month of Shahbaz Sharif, deposed Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif's younger brother, have raised some concern, say diplomats.

One Commonwealth source predicted on Friday that the organisation would reach a compromise and set conditions.

"They could say, for example, that Pakistan could come back, provided Musharraf does indeed give up as head of the army," he said.