UN Secretary-General Monitors Pakistan Situation, Asks for Peaceful and Lawful Settlement of Election Issues

Pakistan is facing a political crisis after the February 8 parliamentary elections, which were marred by allegations of rigging, irregularities and delays in the announcement of results. Several political parties, mainly the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) of former Prime Minister Imran Khan, have staged protests across the country, accusing the election authorities of favouring the opponent candidates.

The PTI, which had to contest the election as independents after Khan was disqualified and jailed on corruption charges last year, is leading the unofficial results with 92 seats, followed by the Pakistan Muslim League Nawaz (PML-N) of another former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, who was also barred from running for office, with 79 seats and the Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) of Bilawal Bhutto Zardari, son of assassinated ex-Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto, with 54 seats.

The election controversy has drawn the attention of the international community, especially the United States, the United Kingdom and the European Union, which have called for a transparent and credible investigation into the allegations of election fraud and interference. They have also urged the Pakistani authorities and political leaders to respect the democratic process and the will of the people.

In this context, the UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has also expressed his concern over the situation in Pakistan and appealed for a calm and peaceful resolution of the election dispute through the established legal procedures. He has also stressed the importance of respecting human rights and the rule of law in the interest of the people of Pakistan.

In a statement issued by his spokesperson, Stephane Dujarric, on Monday, Guterres said he was monitoring the situation in Pakistan and called for the resolving of all issues and disputes through the established legal frameworks. He also urged the authorities and political leaders to maintain a calm atmosphere and to reject and refrain from all forms of violence and avoid any actions that could increase or inflame tensions.

The UN chief’s statement came after a press conference by the caretaker Prime Minister Anwaarul Haq Kakar, who rejected the pressure from the US and the UK to investigate the allegations of rigging and delay in the announcement of results. He said Pakistan was a sovereign state and would not bow to any pressure. He also said that other countries and international forums made their assumptions and opinions based on fractured information on social media. He said that if there were any allegations, Pakistan would look into them according to its own laws and no demand of any other country.

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