US Reaffirms Support for Free and Fair Elections in Pakistan

The United States has recently reiterated its support for free and fair elections in Pakistan, emphasizing that it does not favor any particular political party in the country. This statement was made by State Department Spokesperson Matthew Miller during a daily press briefing. He assured that the US will continue to engage with the leaders elected by the people of Pakistan.

Miller also highlighted that the US is engaged with Pakistan on a bilateral basis to discuss their support for the upcoming elections, which are scheduled to take place on February 8 next year. This commitment to democratic processes was further demonstrated earlier this year when US envoy in Islamabad, Donald Blome, met with Chief Election Commissioner Sikander Sultan Raja and reaffirmed the US support for “free and fair elections” in Pakistan.

In the context of security cooperation, Miller addressed the ongoing visit of Chief of Army Staff (COAS) General Asim Munir to the US. He stated that General Munir had met with several senior officials at the State Department and Pentagon. He further emphasized that Pakistan is a major non-NATO ally of the United States and a NATO partner, and expressed anticipation for future regional security and defense cooperation.

Last week, during General Munir’s maiden visit to Washington, Pakistan and the US agreed to enhance cooperation on matters related to counter-terrorism and defense collaboration. This agreement was reached following meetings with US officials including Secretary of State Antony J Blinken, Secretary of Defence General (retd) Llyod J Austin, Deputy Secretary of State Victoria Nuland, Deputy National Security Adviser Jonathan Finer and Chairman of Joint Chiefs of Staff General Charles Q Brown.

Both sides agreed to continue engagement for exploring potential avenues of bilateral collaboration in pursuit of shared interests. Counter-terrorism cooperation and defense collaboration were identified as core areas of cooperation. The army chief underscored the importance of understanding each other’s perspectives on regional security issues and developments affecting strategic stability in South Asia.

General Munir also highlighted the importance of resolving the Kashmir issue in line with international law and relevant United Nations Security Council (UNSC) resolutions. His visit came at a time when Pakistan is facing immense security challenges from both internal and external terror outfits, with regions like Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Balochistan suffering the most.

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