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Saturday, March 02, 2024  
20 Shaban 1445  

Some statements on Pakistan elections aren’t even factual, says FO

Cites elections exercise has demonstrated concerns of many commentators were misplaced
Polling officers count ballot papers during the general election in Karachi, Pakistan February 8, 2024. Reuters
Polling officers count ballot papers during the general election in Karachi, Pakistan February 8, 2024. Reuters

Some statements against the general elections were not even factual, Pakistan’s Foreign Office said on Saturday as it reacted to the concerns over allegations of interference.

“We are surprised by the negative tone of some of these statements, which neither take into account the complexity of the electoral process, nor acknowledge the free and enthusiastic exercise of the right to vote by tens of millions of Pakistanis,” the FO statement said.

The reaction came after the United States, Britain and the European Union on Friday separately expressed concerns about the electoral process in the wake of a vote on Thursday.

In separate statements, they called for a probe into reported irregularities.

Elections were held for 265 seats in the National Assembly and a political party needs 134 seats for a simple majority.

The US and the EU both mentioned allegations of interference, including arrests of activists and added that claims of irregularities, interference and fraud should be fully investigated.

On Saturday, Australia said that it was regrettable that the Pakistani people were restricted in their choice since not all political parties were allowed to contest these elections.

In response, the FO said that such statements “ignore the undeniable fact” that Pakistan held general elections, “peacefully and successfully” while dealing with security threats resulting primarily from terrorism.

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“Some statements are not even factual,” it said and added that there was no nationwide internet shutdown. “Only mobile services were suspended for the day to avoid terrorist incidents on the polling day. The elections exercise has demonstrated that the concerns of many commentators were misplaced.”

The statement added that Pakistan held the elections as part of its commitment to building a democratic society. It was of the view that negative commentary from friendly countries even before the completion of electoral process was neither constructive nor objective.

“Pakistan will continue to work towards building a vibrant democratic polity. Every election and peaceful transition of power brings us closer to that goal. We do this not on account of the concerns expressed by others but because that is the aspiration of our people and the vision of our founding fathers.”

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