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Pakistan Slams Criticism of Its Election Process as US Calls for Fraud Probe

© AP Photo / Muhammad SajjadMembers of polling staff count the votes after the polls closed for parliamentary elections, in Peshawar, Pakistan, Thursday, Feb. 8, 2024.
Members of polling staff count the votes after the polls closed for parliamentary elections, in Peshawar, Pakistan, Thursday, Feb. 8, 2024. - Sputnik India, 1920, 10.02.2024
Former Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, the leader of Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N), has claimed victory in the election after his party bagged the maximum seats, according to Election Commission.
Pakistan's Ministry of Foreign Affairs has said that it has been left "surprised by the negative tone" of certain countries and organisations towards its elections, according to a statement released on Saturday.

"We are surprised by the negative tone of some of these statements, which neither take into account the complexity of the electoral process, nor acknowledge the free and enthusiastic exercise of the right to vote by tens of millions of Pakistanis," the foreign ministry said.

"These statements ignore the undeniable fact that Pakistan has held general elections, peacefully and successfully, while dealing with serious security threats resulting primarily from foreign sponsored terrorism," the ministry added.

The statement rejected the accusation that there was an “internet shutdown” in the country on the polling day, clarifying that "only mobile services were suspended for the day to avoid terrorist incidents".
The foreign ministry asserted that the election signified the government’s commitment to building a “stable and democratic society”.

“While we value constructive advice from our friends, making negative commentary even before the completion of electoral process is neither constructive nor objective,” the ministry statement remarked.

It said that the authorities would strive to build a “vibrant democratic polity”.
“Every election and peaceful transition of power brings us closer to that goal,” the statement added.
While independents backed by jailed former Prime Minister Imran Khan have won over 90 seats, Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) has emerged as the single biggest party, according to the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP).
Khan, currently in jail, has also claimed victory, as he cited independent estimates which have handed his allies a two-third majority out of 265 National Assembly (NA) seats which went to polls on Thursday.

US Calls for an Election Fraud Probe

Pakistan’s statement came after the US, the European Union (EU) and the United Kingdom (UK) among other western allies expressed concerns over “allegations of interference” in the election process.

"Claims of interference or fraud should be fully investigated," stated US State Department spokesperson Matthew Miller.

Miller also expressed concerns over “undue restrictions on freedoms of expression, association, and peaceful assembly” in the lead-up to the election.
The US State Department spokesperson however also remarked that Washington would work with the new government of Pakistan, regardless of the political party.
An activist of Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) party listens to Pakistan's former Prime Minister Imran Khan's speech on a phone, in Zaman Park in Lahore on May 13, 2023. - Sputnik India, 1920, 10.02.2024
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