South Asia and Beyond

Pakistan Election: US Concerned Over Lack Of Freedom

US expresses concern over lack of freedom in electoral process in Pakistan
 Pakistan Election: US Concerned Over Lack Of Freedom

The US State Department has voiced apprehension over what it calls challenges to freedom in Pakistan’s electoral process.

“We want to see the process take place in a way that facilitates broad participation with respect for freedom of expression, assembly and association,” deputy spokesperson Vedant Patel has said.

The US government says it’s bothered about “incidents of violence and restrictions on media freedom, freedom of expression, including internet freedom, and peaceful assembly and association”.

“We are concerned by some of the infringements that we have seen in that space,” Patel added.

Highlighting the significance of rights of the people, he noted that “Pakistanis deserve to exercise their fundamental right to choose their future leaders through free and fair elections without fear, violence or intimidation. And it’s ultimately for the people of Pakistan to decide their political future.”

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In the build-up to the polls, politicians from Imran Khan’s party Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf have been arrested on a slew of charges. Khan has been sentenced to several years in jail in three cases. The political crackdown in the country has been more visible compared to earlier elections.

Several US Congressmen have criticised the democratic process in Pakistan.

Democrat Ilhan Omar wrote on X saying that the country cannot have “free and fair elections when one of the opposition parties has been criminalised”. “Since my colleagues and I raised our concerns about human rights in Pakistan last November, things have only gotten worse. There can’t be free and fair elections when one of the opposition parties has been criminalized.”

On February 8, 128 million Pakistanis will vote in the 12th general election along with elections for provincial legislatures. There’s a conducive environment to ensure a peaceful election, caretaker PM Anwaar-ul-Haq Kakar has told international observers.

Subrat Nanda

At six feet and over, cool, calm and always collected. Never a hair out of place. He is the high priest of editorial facts, grammar is his baby and headlines are meat on the bone. Loves samosas and cricket, tracks Twitter and when in his cups, nothing better than Jagjit Singh’s ghazals.