The United States, European Union, and United Kingdom have voiced apprehensions regarding Pakistan’s elections

World democracies—the US, UK, and EU—have conveyed their views on Pakistan’s February 8 nationwide elections, as the results continue to be tallied more than 24 hours after the polling ended. The voting process, which was observed by a total of 452 observers, including 349 foreign journalists and 43 foreign observers along with 60 local observers, marked a significant event in the world’s fifth-largest democracy. Despite disruptions in cellular and internet services throughout the day, as well as security concerns, the overall polling process remained relatively peaceful across the country, except for terrorist incidents in Balochistan and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) provinces. Some political parties, who had previously held parliamentary roles, raised doubts about the credibility of the results, especially after delays despite assurances from the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) regarding timely release. Nevertheless, both the caretaker government and the top electoral body refuted allegations of deliberate delays, asserting that they adhered to rigorous procedures to ensure transparency in the compilation and release of the final results.

In statements from the United States, United Kingdom, and European Union, concerns were expressed about various aspects of the electoral process. The United States, represented by Matthew Miller of the US State Department, applauded the large turnout of Pakistani voters, particularly women, religious and ethnic minorities, and youth, while urging for timely and comprehensive results that truly reflect the will of the people. The US echoed the concerns of international and local observers regarding restrictions on freedoms of expression, association, and assembly during the elections, condemning electoral violence and human rights violations, including attacks on media personnel.

The UK, represented by Lord Cameron, the Foreign Secretary, acknowledged serious concerns about the fairness and inclusivity of the elections, highlighting issues such as restrictions on political participation, internet access, and delays in result reporting. The UK emphasized the importance of upholding fundamental human rights, the rule of law, and the need for a civilian government committed to delivering reforms for the benefit of all citizens. The European Union, represented by Peter Stano, the Lead Spokesperson for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, noted the challenges faced during the polling, including systemic barriers for women and minorities, as well as allegations of interference in the electoral process and restrictions on freedom of expression. The EU called for a thorough investigation into reported irregularities and urged all political actors to engage in peaceful dialogue for the formation of a stable government that respects human rights and democratic principles. Additionally, the EU emphasized the importance of continued reforms in areas such as human rights, governance, and environmental standards, underlining Pakistan’s significance as a partner in the EU-Pakistan Strategic Engagement Plan.

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