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US Congress adopts resolution seeking independent probe into Pakistan’s general election – Times of India

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US Congress adopts resolution seeking independent probe into Pakistan’s general election – Times of India

WASHINGTON/ISLAMABAD: The US House of Representatives has passed a resolution by an overwhelming vote supporting democracy and human rights in Pakistan, urging an independent investigation into claims of irregularities in the country’s February 8 general elections. Pakistan’s general elections were plagued by a nationwide mobile internet shutdown on election day, arrests and violence during the lead-up, and unusually delayed results.These issues led to widespread accusations that the vote had been rigged.
Lawmakers supporting resolution HR 901, titled ‘Expressing support for democracy and human rights in Pakistan’, said that the overwhelming support highlighted the United States’ commitment to promoting democratic values globally.
The resolution passed on Tuesday by an overwhelming 368-7 vote urged US President Joe Biden to collaborate with Pakistan in upholding democracy, human rights, and the rule of law.
It emphasised the importance of free and fair elections, calling for a thorough and independent investigation into any claims of interference or irregularities in Pakistan’s 2024 elections.
The resolution emphasised the need for Pakistani public participation in the democratic process, months after the general elections were contested as rigged.
Jailed former prime minister Imran Khan’s Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) is among those opposing the election results, citing significant obstacles faced by its candidates, leading them to run as independents without their iconic bat symbol due to a legal battle with the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP).
Following the elections, Nawaz Sharif’s Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) and Bilawal Bhutto-led Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) formed a coalition government, leaving PTI and other parties in opposition.
The resolution calls for a “full and independent investigation of claims of interference or irregularities in Pakistan’s February 2024 election.”
It also condemns “attempts to suppress the people of Pakistan’s participation in their democracy, including through harassment, intimidation, violence, arbitrary detention, restrictions on access to the Internet and telecommunications, or any violation of their human, civil, or political rights.”
It also denounces “any effort to subvert the political, electoral, or judicial processes of Pakistan.”
Congressman Rich McCormick, a Georgia Republican, sponsored the resolution. Congressman Daniel Kildee, a Democrat from Michigan, co-sponsored it. The original resolution was introduced in the House on November 30, 2023, and the text was amended on June 18 this year, the Dawn newspaper reported.
Meanwhile, Pakistan on Wednesday criticised Resolution 901, saying it was neither constructive nor objective due to its perceived lack of understanding of the country’s political situation and electoral process.
Responding to media inquiries regarding the resolution, Foreign Office Spokesperson Mumtaz Zahra Baloch confirmed that Pakistan had noted its passage.
“We believe that the timing and context of this particular resolution do not align well with the positive dynamics of our bilateral ties and stem from an incomplete understanding of the political situation and electoral process in Pakistan,” Baloch was quoted as saying by The Express Tribune newspaper.
She emphasised that Pakistan, as the world’s second-largest parliamentary democracy and fifth-largest democracy overall, remains committed to constitutionalism, human rights, and the rule of law in line with its national interests.
Baloch stressed the importance of constructive dialogue and engagement based on mutual respect and understanding.
“Such resolutions are therefore neither constructive nor objective. We hope that the US Congress will play a supportive role in strengthening Pakistan-US ties and focus on avenues of mutual collaboration that benefit both our peoples and countries,” she added.

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