Monday 24 October 2016

2013 Pak Elections Were Free and Fair: US

Lalit K Jha/ Washington
File: AP Photo/Sang Tan

Amid escalating political crisis in Pakistan over alleged vote rigging in last year's polls, the US has said that there was no change in its position that the 2013 general elections that brought Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif to power were free and fair.

"Nothing has changed in our view," State Department Spokesperson Jen Psaki told reporters when asked if the US still views last year's elections to be free and fair despite allegations levelled by cricketer-turned-politician Imran Khan, who is demanding the resignation of Sharif.

US President Barack Obama, in a statement on May 12, 2013 after the conclusion of the general elections, had said, "The United States stands with all Pakistanis in welcoming this historic peaceful and transparent transfer of civilian power, which is a significant milestone in Pakistan’s democratic progress."

Following the elections, the European Union Election Observation Mission, National Democratic Institute and Asian Network for Free Elections (ANFREL) which sent the observer missions to the country had also declared it as general free and fair, except for a small percentage of polling booths where women were not allowed to cast ballots.

Psaki said that the US is closely watching the situation in Pakistan.

"As I understand in Pakistan, the protests have died down and things have calmed a bit in the streets," she said in response to a question.

The US Defense Department which maintains a regular high level contact with the Pakistani military leadership refrained from commenting on the current political situation in the country.

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