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Pakistan has said that the negative tone of the statements made by certain countries and organizations on the general elections held on Thursday ignore the undeniable fact that Pakistan has held them peacefully and successfully while dealing with serious security threats resulting primarily from foreign sponsored terrorism.

“We are surprised by the negative tone of some of these statements, which neither take into account the complexity of the electoral process, nor acknowledge the free and enthusiastic exercise of the right to vote by tens of millions of Pakistanis,” the Foreign Office (FO) said in a press release today.

It added that some statements by the countries were not even factual.

“There was no nationwide internet shutdown.Only mobile services were suspended for the day to avoid terrorist incidents on the polling day.

The elections exercise has demonstrated that the concerns of many commentators were misplaced,“ FO said.

The press release by the ministry comes after the US, UK, Australia and the European Union called on Pakistani authorities on Friday to investigate all reports of election irregularities.

In its statement today, FO said that Pakistan held the elections as part of its commitment to building a stable and democratic society.

“While we value constructive advice from our friends, making negative commentary even before the completion of electoral process is neither constructive nor objective.

Free, unhindered participation by Pakistanis to exercise their right of vote demonstrated their commitment to democracy: COAS

Pakistan will continue to work towards building a vibrant democratic polity.“

Every election and peaceful transition of power brings us closer to that goal, the FO said.

“We do this not on account of the concerns expressed by others but because that is the aspiration of our people and the vision of our founding fathers.”

On February 8, millions of citizens exercised their right to vote. However, the caretaker government suspended mobile services due to security concerns.

Later, the United States expressed concern about allegations of rigging and called for an investigation into claims of election fraud.

The US State Department also condemned electoral violence, restrictions on the exercise of human rights and fundamental freedoms, including attacks on media workers, and restrictions on access to the Internet and telecommunication services.

“We join credible international and local election observers in their assessment that these elections included undue restrictions on freedoms of expression, association, and peaceful assembly,” it said.

Similarly, in a statement, British Foreign Minister David Cameron acknowledged “serious concerns” raised about fairness and inclusivity of the elections and urged Pakistan to ensure free access to information and legal enforcement.

“We express regret that certain political leaders were barred from participating in the elections and that identifiable party symbols could not be used, and that not all parties were officially allowed to run for office,” David Cameron said.

“We also note the restrictions imposed on internet access on polling day, significant delays to the reporting of results, and claims of irregularities in the counting process.”

He urged authorities in Pakistan to uphold fundamental human rights including free access to information, and the rule of law.

Meanwhile, the European Union also issued a statement.

“We regret the lack of a level playing field due to the inability of some political actors to contest the elections, restrictions to freedom of assembly, freedom of expression both online and offline, restrictions of access to the internet, as well as allegations of severe interference in the electoral process, including arrests of political activists,”

Moerover, Australia while welcoming the increase in the number of women registered to vote said that it was regrettable that the people were restricted in their choice, “since not all political parties were allowed to contest these elections”.

“Australia supports a democratic, stable and prosperous Pakistan which upholds its commitments to democratic principles including human rights, media freedoms, freedom of expression, and freedom of association,” the foreign ministry of Australia said.

Meanwhile, complete results are yet to be announced by the ECP. According to unofficial results, PTI-backed independent candidates are leading while PML-N is trailing behind. Pakistan Peoples Party is third.

Comments

200 characters
KU Feb 10, 2024 12:46pm
The undeniable fact is that the powers ensured rigged election results for a party of choice, also many people died and it was not peacefully. The law is in full swing to crush the protester's rights.
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NK Feb 10, 2024 01:31pm
FO needs to wake up and read the local as well international observations. If you cant add value ,please dont issue irrelevant statements . Pakistan Zindabad .
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