US senator calls on Pakistani authorities to probe allegations of fraud in February 8 polls

Feb24,2024



Washington/Islamabad: A US senator requested to pakistani officer To fully investigate the claims of vote rigging In the country's elections, insisting that without any credible investigation, a new government Will struggle to bring Pakistani people together. On Friday, Senator Chris Van Hollen shared photos of a letter he wrote to Pakistan's Ambassador to the US Masood Khan on February 21, in which he praised the millions of Pakistanis who voted in the country's elections on February 8.
The significant participation of Pakistani people from across the country and from all walks of life reflects the fundamental role of elections in democracies around the world, he said.
“Unfortunately, these elections were marred by political violence, allegations of unreasonable restrictions on political expression, and allegations of vote rigging,” the Democratic senator wrote.
The junior senator from Maryland, who coincidentally was born in Karachi, added, “The State Department agrees with the assessment of international and local election observers that 'these elections involved unreasonable restrictions on freedom of expression, association, and peaceful assembly.' ”
The letter also notes that Pakistani authorities have reportedly shut down mobile telecommunications as a security measure and cites allegations made by a senior administrative official in Punjab province that they have “turned the losers into winners.” and participated in fraud in changing the results of 13 national parliament seats.
Van Hollen urged Pakistan to “fully investigate allegations of fraud and election interference”. “Without a credible investigation, the new government will struggle to bring the Pakistani people together,” he said.
Meanwhile, a high-level inquiry committee constituted by Pakistan's top electoral body on Friday said explosive allegations of election rigging made by a former senior bureaucrat were “false and based on lies”.
The probe committee's report came a day after former Rawalpindi Commissioner Liaquat Ali Chattha on Thursday took a U-turn and withdrew his allegations, saying he had leveled the allegations of rigging at the behest of former Prime Minister Imran Khan's party, which They are called “attractive situations”.
Khan's Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) party on Friday approached the Supreme Court challenging the election results, alleging massive rigging.
Khan has already declared the entire process the 'mother of all rigging' and insists that his party's mandate has been stolen due to rigging.
The party claimed that it won 180 seats in the National Assembly through independent candidates supported by the party, however, rigging ensured that the number was reduced to only 92 seats, thus eliminating any chance of coming back to power.
The plea comes two days after the apex court disposed of a petition seeking annulment of the elections and imposed a fine on one of the petitioners, a former Army officer, for failing to appear in the court after filing the petition.
Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N), another former prime minister-led party, won 75 seats, while Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) stood third with 54 seats. Muttahida Qaumi Movement Pakistan (MQM-P) has 17 seats.
Given the constitutional provision that a party must win 133 of the 265 seats contested in the 266-member National Assembly to form the government, the PML-N and PPP have agreed to a power-sharing deal to form a new coalition government.
Under this arrangement, PML-N's Shehbaz Sharif is projected as the prime ministerial candidate, while PPP's Asif Ali Zardari is to become president, effectively eliminating the possibility of the former Khan returning to power. .



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