Caretaker Prime Minister Anwaarul Haq Kakar has said that the government would not conduct investigations into the allegations of electoral fraud at the behest of any country.
“For me, the demand of a PTI individual is more important than the US government, United Kingdom government, and the European Union combined,” he said at a press conference in Islamabad.
It was followed by a question and answer session where foreign media correspondents were also present.
The US, UK, and EU have called for an investigation into claims of interference or fraud in elections. Meanwhile, Australia had stated that it was regrettable that the Pakistani people were restricted in their choice since not all political parties were allowed to contest general elections.
The Election Commission of Pakistan issued the complete provisional results on Sunday, showing that independent candidates leading the race for National Assembly seats. The PML-N emerged as the single largest party.
Political parties have expressed concerns over the delay in election results. The Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf, which fielded independent candidates after the Supreme Court stripped it of the electoral symbol, has alleged that authorities tampered with the results.
Kakar has clarified that the delay in election results does not mean that the polls were rigged.
“We are quite fine with these ill-found allegations but we cannot have compromised on the security of people,” he said.
In response to a query related to the suspension of mobile services on polling day, he said that the decision was taken to ensure the security of the people given security threats.
He did not share the security threats.
Kakar shunned criticism from US lawmakers regarding less choices for voters and lack of level playing field in the general elections and said that it is “not that big a deal”.
Pakistan had a huge diaspora in the United States, some of whom had “quite an active role in domestic politics and have their own inclinations towards domestic politics here so at times it is quite easy for you to settle there, participate in local fundraising and you’ll be able to influence one, two or a few members of US Congress,” he said.
Kakar said US Congress members did not “represent the gospel truth” and were not the “pedestal of do [and] does [not]”.
He said there were other important issues for them to comment on.
Free, fair elections
Kakar was of the view that the February 8 general elections were held in a “free and fair manner”.
“We did not have any institutional mechanism either in fear or favour of an entity, political group or individual,” he said.
“But I agree that the future Parliament should focus more on the electoral process, the system of balloting and rest of the issues affiliated with it. I personally feel we should have a more robust and financially independent election commission,” PM Kakar added.
Pakistan will have new IMF prorgamme
At the media talk, he hinted that the new government would have to have a new agreement with the International Monetary Fund.
The South Asian country is under an International Monetary Fund programme. Last month, the IMF released the much awaited $700 million tranche under the $3 billion stand-by arrangement.
Pakistan has received 23 IMF bailouts in 75 years and if caretaker Finance Minister Shamshad Akhtar is to be believed the country would have to go for more loan programmes for some time as the economy remains “fragile”.
When asked, Kakar said: “We are in continuation of talks with the International Monetary Fund. Yes the new deal with them for the new programme that has to be taken by the new government.”
He went on to add that the IMF does not have any issues regarding privatisation.
“We have done all the exercises. The next government if required will have to carry forward or go for the execution or reverse.”
“It is in the stage of implementation. We have done the necessary bit, how to do it, and there are many details.”