Donald Lu expresses concerns over election irregularities in Pakistan


WASHINGTON: US Assistant Secretary of State Donald Lu expressed concerns about irregularities in the February 8 elections in Pakistan, ARY News reported. 

As per details, Donald Lu submitted a written statement ahead of his appearance at a Congressional panel.

The four-page testimony stated that the US was particularly concerned about electoral abuses and violence that happened in the weeks leading up to the elections.

“First, there were attacks against police, politicians, and political gatherings by terrorist groups. Second, many journalists, particularly female journalists, were harassed and abused by party supporters. Several political leaders were disadvantaged by the inability to register specific candidates and political parties” he added.

Lu said that “On the day of the elections, an internationally respected local election monitoring organization said that they were barred from observing vote tabulation in more than half of the constituencies across the country and despite a high court instruction not to interrupt internet service on election day, authorities shut down mobile data services, the principal means by which Pakistanis access social media and messaging applications.”

Furthermore, the US Assistant Secretary of State stated in the testimony that there were some positive aspects of the February 8 election in Pakistan as over 60 million Pakistanis voted, including over 21 million women despite threats of violence.

“Voters elected 50 percent more women to Parliament than they did in 2018. In addition to a record number of women candidates, there were record numbers of members of religious and ethnic minority groups and young people running for seats in Parliament.”

Donald Lu also termed the Pakistan as an important partner of the United States and share a commitment to strengthening Pakistan s democratic institutions, supporting the US-Pakistan Green Alliance Framework, cooperating to counter terrorist threats from groups like Al-Qaeda and ISIS, and bolstering respect for human rights, including religious freedom.

Read more: US Rejects Allegations Against Donald Lu

He said that United States plays a critical role in promoting economic stability in Pakistan as US is the top destination for Pakistan s exports. “Our support for Pakistan over these decades has been in the form of development grants, private sector investment, and humanitarian assistance during periods of greatest need, including the recent catastrophic flooding.”

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