South Asia and Beyond

US Lawmakers Urge Biden To Not Recognise New Pakistan Govt

 US Lawmakers Urge Biden To Not Recognise New Pakistan Govt

US lawmakers in a joint letter have expressed serious reservations about alleged vote-rigging in Pakistan, both pre and post elections. They demanded that US recognition of the new government be held back until there is a transparent and credible investigation of these allegations.

All the 33 signatories are from the Democrat party. It was led by representatives Greg Casar and Susan Wild. The signatories also included Pramila Jayapal, Rashida Tlaib, Ro Khanna, Jamie Raskin, Ilhan Omar, Cori Bush and Barbara Lee.

The letter urged “Pakistani authorities to release anyone who has been detained for engaging in political speech or activity, and task State Department officials in Pakistan with gathering information about such cases and advocating for their release.”

The lawmakers also urged the state department to gather latest information about political activists and media personnel who have been detained in Pakistan and called for their immediate release.

Recently, the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) and Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) agreed to form a coalition government even as candidates backed by jailed former Prime Minister Imran Khan, gained the most seats. Khan-backed candidates won 93 seats, but did not have the numbers to form a government. Khan is in jail in a series of cases. He said that his party would not accept the election results.

There has been political paralysis in Pakistan for months. In the buildup to the polls, Pakistan’s military and the civil administration cracked down hard on Khan and his supporters. The election commission also stripped Khan’s party of its election symbol.

The Biden government has largely remained silent about these developments and the continued detention of Khan and his supporters. However, in a rare move after the polls, Washington called for an investigation into claims of election interference saying that it, “included undue restrictions on freedoms of expression, association and peaceful assembly.”