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US passes resolution seeking probe into Pak elections, Islamabad terms it ‘incomplete understanding’

The US House of Representatives passed a bipartisan resolution on Wednesday, in support of democracy and human rights in Pakistan and called for a “thorough and independent investigation” into interference claims in Pakistan’s 2024 elections.

The resolution passed with 85 per cent of House members participating and 98 per cent voting in its favour, urged US President Joe Biden to collaborate with Pakistan in “upholding democracy, human rights, and the rule of law”.

The resolution, HR 901, titled ‘Expressing support for democracy and human rights in Pakistan’ was introduced by Congressman McCormick of Georgia and Congressman Kildee of Michigan and co-sponsored by over 100 colleagues.

“It underscores the importance of upholding democratic values and respecting the rights of the people of Pakistan as they face economic instability and security threats,” an official statement read.

“The near-unanimous passage of this resolution sends a clear message to the government of Pakistan that the United States stands with the people of Pakistan in their pursuit of democracy, free and fair elections, and respect for individual freedoms and human rights. It is crucial that the new government in Pakistan commits to rooting out corruption and promoting democratic values to ensure a stable and prosperous future for all citizens,” it added.

The resolution emphasised the importance of free and fair elections, calling for a thorough and independent investigation into any claims of interference or irregularities in Pakistan’s 2024 elections, as reported by Dawn.

It also condemned efforts to suppress democratic participation in Pakistan. It specifically denounced harassment, intimidation, violence, arbitrary detention, and restrictions on internet access, as well as any violations of human, civil, or political rights.

Reacting to the resolution, Pakistan’s Foreign Office said that the bipartisan resolution stemmed from an “incomplete understanding” of the country’s political situation and electoral process. “We believe that the timing and context of this particular resolution does not align well with the positive dynamics of our bilateral ties,” Pakistan’s Foreign Office said in a statement on Wednesday.

Islamabad further claimed that it is “committed” to the values of “constitutionalism, human rights and rule of law in pursuance of our own national interest.” “We believe in constructive dialogue and engagement based on mutual respect and understanding,” it said, adding that such resolutions were “neither constructive nor objective.”

“We hope that the US Congress will play a supportive role in strengthening Pakistan-US ties and focus on avenues of mutual collaboration that benefit both our peoples and countries,” it added.

The general elections in Pakistan, held on February 8 this year, were marred by the allegations of irregularities, with incidents of internet shutdown, rigging and violence being reported from different parts of the country.

Imran Khan — the incarcerated former Pakistan Prime Minister — and his party Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf, were among those who opposed the results, citing “irregularities.”

Khan, who is in jail on multiple convictions, also saw his party lose the iconic bat symbol, forcing the party leaders to contest the elections as independents.

PTI-backed independents won the maximum number of seats in the elections.

However, Nawaz Sharif’s Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz and Bilawal Bhutto Zardari’s Pakistan Peoples Party formed a coalition government with Shehbaz Sharif as the Prime Minister and PPP supporting the government from outside. (ANI)

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Last Updated: 24th Jul 2024