Pakistan Rejects Foreign Criticism of its Elections, Says They were Free and Fair

Pakistan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) has dismissed the negative statements from some countries and organizations on the general elections held in Pakistan on February 8, 2024, saying they were free and fair and reflected the will of the people.

In a press release issued on Saturday, MOFA spokesperson said that some of the statements were “surprising” and “not even factual”, as they did not take into account the complexity of the electoral process, the security challenges faced by the country, and the enthusiastic participation of tens of millions of voters.

The spokesperson said that Pakistan had held the elections peacefully and successfully while dealing with serious security threats resulting primarily from foreign sponsored terrorism. He said that some of the statements ignored the undeniable fact that Pakistan had held general elections, which was a sign of its commitment to building a stable and democratic society.

He also clarified that there was no nationwide internet shutdown on the polling day, as some of the statements had claimed. He said that only mobile services were suspended for the day to avoid terrorist incidents on the polling day, which was a common practice in many countries.

The spokesperson said that Pakistan valued constructive advice from its friends, but making negative commentary even before the completion of the electoral process was neither constructive nor objective. He said that Pakistan would continue to work towards building a vibrant democratic polity, as that was the aspiration of its people and the vision of its founding fathers.

The spokesperson urged the international community to respect the verdict of the Pakistani people and to support the democratic process in the country.

The elections were marred by allegations of rigging, violence, and media censorship by the opposition parties and some civil society groups. They also claimed that the military establishment and the judiciary had interfered in the electoral process to favor the PTI. The ECP rejected these allegations and said that it had conducted the elections in a transparent and impartial manner.

Some of the countries and organizations that issued statements on the elections included the United States, the European Union, the United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, and the Human Rights Watch. They expressed concerns over the reports of irregularities, intimidation, and restrictions on the media and civil society. They also called for a peaceful and inclusive transfer of power and urged all the parties to respect the democratic norms and the rule of law.

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