Pakistan Elections: The U.S. State Department highlighted “unwarranted limitations” on freedoms of expression and assembly, while also acknowledging incidents of violence and assaults on media personnel. Following a vote on Thursday, the United States, the United Kingdom, and the European Union each voiced concerns about Pakistan’s electoral process on Friday and called for an investigation into any irregularities that were reportedly observed. The primary contest involved the candidates supported by former Prime Minister Imran Khan and the party of former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif. Each announced their win in their own way.
In the national legislature, elections were held for 265 seats. A political party requires 133 seats to secure a simple majority. Both the U.S. and the EU cited accusations of interference, such as the arrests of activists, and emphasized the necessity for thorough investigations into claims of irregularities, interference, and fraud. Khan is currently incarcerated, and his party has been disqualified from participating in the elections. Independents, many of whom have Khan’s support, secured the majority of seats, with 98 out of the 245 counted by 1830 GMT, while Sharif’s PML-N party clinched 69 seats.
While opponents and observers feel Sharif is receiving support from the generals, Khan believes the powerful military is behind a crackdown aimed at driving his party out of power. The EU statement highlighted an “unequal competitive environment,” attributing it to “the inability of certain political figures to participate in the elections” and to limitations on freedom of assembly, freedom of expression, and access to the internet. – Pakistan Elections
Pakistan Elections: EU, UK, and US Concerns About Election in Pakistan
The U.S. State Department highlighted “excessive limitations” on freedom of expression and assembly, along with acknowledging instances of violence and assaults on media personnel. Earlier this week, the UN human rights office condemned violence targeting political parties and candidates, expressing worry over the “recurring incidents of harassment, arrests, and prolonged detentions of leaders and supporters” of Khan’s party. The EU, US, and Britain stated their intention to collaborate with the forthcoming government and refrained from extending congratulations to any candidate or party.
British Foreign Minister David Cameron’s statement highlighted “grave concerns raised regarding the fairness and absence of inclusiveness in the elections.” Numerous legal proceedings have been initiated against Khan, resulting in his disqualification as a candidate and imposition of lengthy prison sentences. Khan refutes any allegations of wrongdoing.
Khan was removed from power in 2022 following a rift with the influential military, which denies any involvement in political affairs. His Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) party emerged victorious in the previous national election in 2018.
Sharif heads the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N).