Amid speculations regarding US envoy meeting with the chief election commissioner, the State Department has stated that Washington does not take any position on the outcome of general elections in Pakistan nor does it support any political party in the country.
State Department Spokesperson Matthew Miller stated this while responding to a question related to recent US Ambassador Donald Blome’s meeting with Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) Sikander Sultan Raja.
“We do not support any one political party or any candidate in Pakistan. But we of course urge free and fair elections in Pakistan, as we do throughout the world,” the spokesperson added.
His statement comes as uncertainty persists over the elections with President Arif Alvi expected to announce the polls date — the announcement that will likely trigger another crisis in the country.
The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) and Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI)-backed President Avli have been at loggerheads over the announcement of poll date.
The ECP, citing the latest amendment to Election Act, maintained that the president is not authorised under law to make any decision in this regard. The ECP’s stance was endorsed by the Law Ministry as well.
However, sources said President Alvi held consultations with the law minister in this regard and is likely to appoint an election date.
Last month, US Ambassador Blome reaffirmed America’s support for “free and fair elections”, adding it would work to strengthen the US-Pakistan relationship with “whomever the Pakistani people choose”.
A statement from the US embassy’s spokesperson was issued after Ambassador Blome’s meeting with CEC Sikander Sultan Raja.
“The United States remains committed to working to broaden and deepen the US-Pakistan relationship with whomever the Pakistani people choose.”
During the meeting, the US ambassador reiterated that choosing Pakistan’s future leaders is for the Pakistani people to decide, the statement had added.
Blome also reaffirmed that America would back transparent elections “conducted in accordance with Pakistan’s laws and constitution”.
The then Shehbaz Sharif-led government dissolved the National Assembly on August 9, while Sindh and Balochistan assemblies were also dissolved prematurely paving the way for an extended period of 90 days for holding of elections.
However, the ECP may not be able to hold the polls within the stipulated time as the Council of Common Interest (CCI), days before the dissolution of the assemblies, approved the 7th Population and Housing Census 2023.
The move led to concerns from several quarters, including the Pakistan Peoples Party, which was part of the coalition government that ratified the census
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