Pakistan Elections 2024: Concerns arise over electoral process as US, UK, EU call for probe

Pakistan Elections 2024: The EU, US, and UK asserted their commitment to collaborating with the forthcoming government and refrained from extending congratulations to any candidate or party.

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Pakistan Elections 2024: United States, Britain and the European Union have individually voiced apprehensions regarding Pakistan's recent electoral proceedings following a vote held on Thursday, urging a thorough investigation into alleged irregularities.

Pakistan Elections 2024: Main contest between Sharif's, Khan's backed candidates

The focal point of the election revolved around contenders supported by former Prime Ministers Nawaz Sharif and Imran Khan, with both claiming victory independently.

Elections were conducted for 265 seats in the National Assembly, with a minimum requirement of 133 seats for a simple majority.

Both the US and the EU cited reports of interference, including activist arrests, emphasizing the necessity for a comprehensive inquiry into claims of irregularities, interference, and fraud.

Imran Khan, currently incarcerated, and his Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) party were barred from participating in the polls. Independent candidates, largely supported by the PTI founder, secured the most seats, with 98 out of 245 until the early hours, while Nawaz Sharif's Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) clinched 69 seats.

Pakistan Elections 2024: Allegations of military involvement, lack of fair play

Imran Khan alleges that the influential military orchestrated a crackdown to eradicate his party, whereas analysts and adversaries assert that Nawaz Sharif enjoys backing from the military establishment.

The EU underscored a "lack of a level playing field," attributing it to the inability of certain political actors to contest the elections and to restrictions on freedom of assembly, expression, and internet access.

The US State Department highlighted "undue restrictions" on freedom of expression and assembly, also noting incidents of violence and attacks on media personnel.

Pakistan Elections 2024: International concerns, calls for investigation

Several US lawmakers, including Democratic Representatives Ro Khanna and Ilhan Omar, expressed concerns, with Khanna alleging military interference and vote rigging.

Both Khanna and Omar urged the State Department to withhold recognition of any winner until investigations into misconduct allegations are completed.

Michael Kugelman of the Wilson Center remarked that the statements from the EU and US State Department were "relatively mild" in comparison to the scale of reported irregularities.

The UN human rights office denounced violence against political parties and candidates, expressing worry over the pattern of harassment, arrests, and prolonged detentions of leaders and supporters of Imran Khan's party.

Pakistan Elections 2024: Pledge to work with next governt amidst allegations

The EU, US, and UK asserted their commitment to collaborating with the forthcoming government and refrained from extending congratulations to any candidate or party.

British Foreign Minister David Cameron's statement underscored "serious concerns raised about the fairness and lack of inclusivity of the elections."

Legal challenges against Imran Khan have resulted in disqualification as a candidate and sentencing to lengthy prison terms, although he maintains his innocence.

Imran Khan was ousted in 2022 following a rift with the country's influential military, which denies interference in politics. His party emerged victorious in the last national election held in 2018.