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Saturday February 24, 2024

Pak legal system should probe ‘poll fraud’: US

Claims of interference and fraud that we have seen raised and we want to ensure that these are fully investigated by Pakistan’s legal system

February 13, 2024
The US Department of State in Washington, US. — AFP File
The US Department of State in Washington, US. — AFP File

WASHINGTON: The US has proposed an independent investigation into the claims of election irregularities in Pakistan through its legal system.

“Right now we think it’s a matter of first course, the legal system play itself out in Pakistan, that’s the appropriate first step to take and we think that’s the step that should be taken,” the State Department Spokesperson, Matthew Miller said on Monday during the daily press briefing.

Responding to a question about the US lawmakers asking the Biden administration to push for an independent investigation into the claims of alleged election fraud, he said, “I don’t know what body are they proposing to conduct an independent investigation would be,” later adding, “If there are additional steps that ought to be entertained we are happy to look into that.”

To another related question, he reiterated, “The claims of interference and fraud that we have seen raised and we want to ensure that these are fully investigated by Pakistan’s legal system. We will continue to monitor that in the days ahead.”

While calling for the alleged election irregularities fully investigated, the spokesperson said it was clearly a competitive election in which people were able to exercise their choice, and “ultimately we respect the democratic process and we are ready to work with the government once it’s formed.”

The spokesperson said that the US has expressed concerns publicly, and privately and joined the EU, the UK and other countries in doing so “with some irregularities that we saw in the process. We conveyed the need for the Pakistani government to respect the will of the election.”

“We emphasise that we want to see the rule of law, respect for constitution, free press, vibrant civil society respected in the run up to the elections and we continue to believe that is the case,” he said while condemning political and election related violence and restrictions on internet and cell phone service, those negatively impacted the electoral service.