The United States State Department has strongly denounced the violence and attacks on media workers that marred Pakistan’s general election day. Amid sporadic violence and internet connectivity issues, the election concluded on Thursday, prompting concerns from international observers.
In a press briefing, US State Department spokesperson Mathew Miller expressed concern over what he termed “undue restrictions” on freedoms of expression, association, and peaceful assembly during the electoral process. He commended Pakistani poll workers, civil society, journalists, and election observers for their efforts to safeguard and uphold the country’s democratic institutions.
“Millions of Pakistanis made their voices heard by voting in Pakistan’s elections on February 8, with record numbers of Pakistani women, members of religious and ethnic minority groups, and youth registered. We now look forward to timely, complete results that reflect the will of the Pakistani people,” said Miller.
The State Department called for a thorough investigation into allegations of electoral interference or fraud, echoing concerns raised by both local and international observers regarding excessive limitations on free speech and assembly rights during the elections.
“We condemn electoral violence, restrictions on the exercise of human rights and fundamental freedoms, including attacks on media workers, and restrictions on access to the Internet and telecommunication services, and are concerned about allegations of interference in the electoral process. Claims of interference or fraud should be fully investigated,” Miller emphasized.
Furthermore, Miller reaffirmed the United States’ commitment to working with the next Pakistani government, irrespective of political affiliation, to advance shared interests between Washington and Islamabad. “We look forward to bolstering our partnership by supporting Pakistan’s economy through trade and investment,” he added.
The US State Department’s statement underscores the importance of transparent and fair elections in Pakistan and calls for accountability in addressing any irregularities or violations that occurred during the electoral process.