THE restoration of Pakistan's membership by the 54-nation Commonwealth would surely end the embarrassment the country had faced in the comity of nation. The membership was suspended over poor progress on the democratic front. To begin with, one must appreciate the role the London based body has played in highlighting the need for its members to have democratic credentials. Our ties with the C'wealth have hardly been smooth. Suspended from its membership in 1999 in the wake of military takeover by General Musharraf, Pakistan was welcomed back in its fold in 2004 when it showed satisfaction with the progress on the democratic front. That phase ended in 2007 when President Musharraf imposed emergency and the club could do nothing but to show Islamabad the door. Monday's decision of C'wealth giving it back full membership is, undoubtedly, in line with its philosophy of fighting for democracy throughout the globe. One the other side of the spectrum, one would have to keep several caveats in minds and analyse the key credentials of democracy as they relate to Pakistan. And one must not play down the Commonwealth's prescription that accompanied the membership licence. Its call for an independent judiciary is certainly where the shoe pinches. Understandably, the issue of fundamental rights of a citizen, and the rule of law are concepts inextricably linked with democracy. It is a pity that throughout the country's existence, the military-bureaucratic oligarchy in concert with intelligence agencies have been calling the shots. Though there have been elections, the electorate never had a say in the exercise of power and the removal of social inequalities for that matter. Although at present the country is passing through a period of uncertainty, one hopes that the mechanism that democracy provides would help sort out the issues. And the membership's restoration would not turn out to be a pyrrhic victory. Both leadership and public themselves have to work hard to make that possible.