31 US Congress Members Urge Biden, Blinken Not To Recognize New Pakistan Government


(MENAFN- NewsIn) By Kanishka Singh/Reuters

Washington, April 29: Thirty-one members of the U.S. Congress have signed a letter to President Joe Biden and Secretary of State Antony Blinken urging them to not recognize a new government, opens new tab in Pakistan until an investigation of election interference has been conducted.

Voters in Pakistan went to the polls, opens new tab earlier this month in a vote marred by a mobile internet shutdown on election day; arrests and violence in its build-up; and unusually delayed results, leading to accusations that the vote was rigged.

ADVERTISEMENT

The United States, Britain and the European Union have expressed concerns, opens new tab about reported election irregularities and urged a probe.

The Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) and Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) agreed to form a coalition government even as candidates backed by jailed former Prime Minister Imran Khan gained the most seats.

Khan-backed candidates won 93 seats, opens new tab, but did not have the numbers to form a government. He and his party rejected the results of the elections, alleging widespread rigging.

PML-N's 79 and the PPP's 54 seats together make a simple majority, opens new tab in parliament to form a government, which, however, will also rope in smaller parties in the coalition.

The letter dated Wednesday urged Biden and Blinken to withhold recognition of a new government in Pakistan until a thorough, transparent, and credible investigation of election interference has been conducted.”

It asked them to“urge Pakistani authorities to release anyone who has been detained for engaging in political speech or activity, and task State Department officials in Pakistan with gathering information about such cases and advocating for their release.”

The letter also urged Biden and Blinken to make clear to Pakistani authorities that Washington could use the leverage for military and other cooperation to be halted if relevant steps were not taken.

CONTEXT

The letter signed by 31 Democratic members of the U.S. House of Representatives was led by Representatives Greg Casar and Susan Wild. The signatories included Representatives Pramila Jayapal, Rashida Tlaib, Ro Khanna, Jamie Raskin, Ilhan Omar, Cori Bush and Barbara Lee.

Khan was ousted in 2022 after falling out with the country's powerful military, which denies meddling in politics. His Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) party won the 2018 national election. Multiple legal cases were brought against Khan, which disqualified him as a candidate and sentenced him to long prison terms. He denies wrongdoing.

END

MENAFN02032024000191011043ID1107926074


Legal Disclaimer:
MENAFN provides the information “as is” without warranty of any kind. We do not accept any responsibility or liability for the accuracy, content, images, videos, licenses, completeness, legality, or reliability of the information contained in this article. If you have any complaints or copyright issues related to this article, kindly contact the provider above.