Pak Polls: US condemns restrictions on freedom of expression
Washington D.C. [U.S.A.], July 28 (ANI): The United States of America has raised concerns with regards to the Pakistan General Elections 2018 which were held on Wednesday this week. In a statement, the US Department of State pulled up the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan regarding flaws in the pre-voting electoral process. "These (concern) included constraints placed on freedoms of expression and association during the campaign period that were at odds with Pakistani authorities' stated goal of a fully fair and transparent election," the statement read. US Department of State further stated that they are in agreement with the conclusion of the European Union Election Observation Mission, whose report notes that while there were positive changes to the legal framework for elections in Pakistan, these were overshadowed by restrictions on freedom of expression and unequal campaign opportunities. It further expressed concerns about the participation of terrorism-affiliated individuals contesting elections but applauded the citizens for rejecting them in the elections. "The United States commends the courage of the Pakistani people, including many women, who turned out to vote and showed resolve to determine their country's future," the statement read. It also condemned the terrorist attacks that 'marred' the election process, and offered condolences to the victims and their families. The US announced that it will continue to 'encourage broadening opportunities for political participation for all Pakistanis, and for the further strengthening of legitimate, democratic institutions." "As Pakistan's elected leaders form a new government, the United States will look for opportunities to work with them to advance our goals of security, stability, and prosperity in South Asia." Yesterday, the US Department of State expressed concern over the alleged rigging of the Pakistan elections. In response to a question put forth by ANI about 'Free and Fair' elections in Pakistan, a US Department of State spokesperson said the US was hopeful of working with the new government towards achieving prescribed goals of security and stability in South Asia. Pakistan went to polls on Wednesday and the counting of votes began soon thereafter in the evening. Various political parties and journalists have alleged that the elections were rigged in favour of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf Chief Imran Khan. The unofficial results of the general elections have portrayed Khan as the next Prime Minister.
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