US, UK, and EU voice concerns and call for an investigation of the election in Pakistan

Washington: Following a vote on Thursday, the US, UK, and EU independently voiced concerns about Pakistan’s election process on Friday and called for an investigation into alleged anomalies.
The primary contest included 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 conducted for 265 members. A political party need 133 seats to secure a simple majority.

Both the US and the EU cited accusations of meddling, including activist arrests, and emphasized that any claims of anomalies, meddling, or fraud should be thoroughly looked into.
Khan is incarcerated, and the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) party is not allowed to participate in the election. With 98 of the 245 seats recorded at 1830 GMT, independents—the majority of whom were supported by Khan—had the most seats, while Sharif’s Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) party had 69.
While opponents and observers feel Sharif is receiving support from the generals, Khan believes the strong military is orchestrating a crackdown aimed at driving his party out of power.
The European Union released a statement citing a “lack of a level playing field” and blaming it on “the inability of some political actors to contest the elections” in addition to limitations on the right to free speech, assembly, and internet access.
The U.S. State Department noted violence and assaults on media personnel while claiming that there were “undue restrictions” on the freedoms of speech and assembly.
Representatives Ro Khanna and Ilhan Omar, both Democrats, were among the American legislators who voiced their worries, with Khanna claiming that “the military is interfering and rigging the result.”
Omar and Khanna both pleaded with the State Department to hold off on announcing a winner until after claims of wrongdoing had been looked into.
The EU and US State Department remarks, according to Michael Kugelman, head of the South Asia Institute at the Wilson Center think tank in Washington, were “relatively mild… considering the great scale of the rigging that went down.”
The U.N. human rights agency condemned violence against political parties and candidates earlier this week. The “pattern of harassment, arrests and prolonged detentions of leaders and supporters” of Khan’s party was a cause for alarm.
The U.S., the UK, and the EU did not congratulate any candidate or party, but instead pledged to cooperate with the next administration.
In a statement, British Foreign Minister David Cameron said that there were “serious concerns raised about the fairness and lack of inclusivity of the elections.”
Khan has been the target of many legal actions that have resulted in his disqualification from the race and lengthy jail sentences. He refutes any misconduct.
After a falling out with the nation’s strong military, which rejects interfering in politics, Khan was removed from office in 2022. The last national election in 2018 was won by his party.

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