Pakistan election results marred by ‘irregularities’ despite organized polls: Donald Lew

Assistant Secretary of State Donald Lew highlighted the irregularities that occurred during the February 8 vote and expressed the United States’ commitment to strengthening Pakistan’s democratic institutions.

Lew will appear before a congressional panel today (Wednesday) that has held a hearing on Pakistan.

The House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee announced that the hearing, titled “Post-Election Pakistan: Examining the Future of Pakistani Democracy and U.S.-Pakistan Relations,” will feature the Assistant Secretary of State as a key witness.

In his written testimony, which the subcommittee uploaded on its website on Tuesday, Lu raised a number of questions about the two countries and the future of U.S. policy toward Pakistan.

He mentioned that the U.S. State Department issued a clear statement the day after Pakistan’s election last month, pointing out that freedom of speech, association, and peaceful assembly were unduly restricted.

Lu noted that the ministry condemned electoral violence and restrictions on human rights and fundamental freedoms, as well as attacks on media workers and restrictions on internet and telecommunications services.

He said they were also concerned about allegations of interference in the electoral process and demanded that allegations of interference or fraud be fully investigated.

“We are particularly concerned about the electoral abuses and violence that occurred in the weeks leading up to the elections,” he said, adding, “First, terrorist groups attacked police, politicians and political rallies. Second, many journalists, “especially female journalists, were subjected to Harassment and abuse by political party supporters. Some political leaders are disadvantaged by their inability to register specific candidates and parties. “

He also mentioned that on the day of the election, an internationally renowned local election monitoring organization stated that they were prohibited from observing vote counts in more than half of the country’s precincts.

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“Despite a High Court directive not to disrupt internet services on election day, authorities shut down mobile data services, the main way Pakistanis access social media and messaging apps,” he said.

Participate in progress

But the assistant secretary of state said everything was fine, and he pointed to the positives in Pakistan’s election.

“Despite the threat of violence, more than 60 million Pakistanis voted, including more than 21 million women. Voters elected 50% more female MPs than in 2018. In addition to a record number of female candidates, There are also record numbers of members of religious groups, as well as ethnic minority groups and young people running for parliamentary seats.”

He said in his testimony that Pakistani voters have a choice.

“A range of political parties won seats in the national and provincial assemblies. Three different parties now lead Pakistan’s four provinces. More than 5,000 independent observers were on the ground. Their organization concluded that the conduct of the elections was largely was competitive and orderly while noting some irregularities in the compilation of results,” he said.

America’s future policy

Declaring Pakistan an important partner, the senior official said the United States is jointly committed to strengthening the country’s democratic institutions, supporting the U.S.-Pakistan Green Alliance framework, cooperating to combat terrorist threats from groups such as Al Qaeda and Daesh, and strengthening support for Pakistan. respect. Human rights, including religious freedom.

Lu said Washington plays a key role in promoting economic stability in Pakistan.

“During our 76-year partnership, we have been one of the most important investors in critical infrastructure. For example, the U.S. government is renovating the Mangla and Tarbela dams that provide electricity to tens of millions of Pakistanis.”

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He added that over the past decades, the United States has provided support to Pakistan in the form of development grants, private sector investment and humanitarian assistance during times of greatest need, including recent catastrophic floods.

“Unfortunately, after a decade of increased borrowing, including from China, Pakistan is facing a growing debt challenge,” he said, warning that nearly 70 percent of federal government revenue this year is expected to be spent on Pay down huge debts.

Donald Lew said in his testimony that Pakistan needs economic reforms and private sector-led investment to bring economic growth to the Pakistani people rather than sinking the government deeper into debt.

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By Ali Raza

I am a dedicated and skilled News Content Writer with a passion for delivering accurate and engaging stories to a diverse audience. With a solid background in journalism and a keen eye for detail, I bring a commitment to excellence and a deep understanding of the evolving media landscape.

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