Debunking Allegations: Insights into Pakistan’s 2024 Elections

Allegations by US and UK Congress members on Pakistan's elections spark debates
Image Credits: Dawn

The recent uproar sparked by allegations from a number of Congressional members from the United States and the United Kingdom on the conduct of General Elections in Pakistan has generated debates across the political and diplomatic circles. Such unfounded reservations with a tinge of vested interests and biased rhetoric, have not only stirred the controversy, but also unveiled the underlying complexities of international relations.

The crux lies in the accusations hurled by certain foreign officials, who have blamed Pakistani establishment for misconduct and manipulation in Pakistan’s electoral process. However, a meticulous examination of the situation reveals a different narrative, one that exposes the robed interests and selective outrage.

The 2024 General Elections in Pakistan were conducted in a transparent, free, and fair manner, as acknowledged by various domestic and international observers. Over 100 international observers, including 82 foreign media journalists, were granted visas. Observers were actively facilitated in monitoring of the electoral process. In addition, 174 foreign media journalists based at Pakistan also joined the observers team, demonstrating the accessibility of the elections to international scrutiny.

The Commonwealth Observer Group (COG), comprising 25 members, actively monitored the polls and expressed satisfaction on the conduct. High voter turnout was noted as a key indicator of public trust and participation in the democratic process. Furthermore, the Free and Fair Election Network (FAFEN), a well-respected Pakistani election monitoring organization, deployed over 5,600 observers nationwide to monitor the elections and reported upon their observations.

The presence of observers from different countries, including Commonwealth nations, Russia, Japan and Uzbekistan, underscored the international community’s engagement and transparency in the electoral process.

The misleading and biased claims made by certain quarters not friendly to Pakistan, were met with strong rebuttals from the authorities.

Read More: Foreign Meddling in Pakistan’s Electoral Process

In a press briefing to local and foreign media journalists on February 12th, 2023, the Prime Minister of Pakistan Anwar ul Haq Kakar appreciated the fair and free conduct of elections while giving a strong rebuttal to unfounded allegations of misconduct in elections. Earlier on February 10th, 2024, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MoFA) issued a press statement condemning “baseless allegations and unfounded remarks”, terming those to be prejudiced and characterized with misinformation. The statement further emphasized Pakistan’s commitment to upholding democratic principles and reiterated the transparency of the electoral process.

Immediately after the elections, a flurry of tweets on social media from certain US congressional members developed a tainted perception. Those tweets not only failed to acknowledge the ground realities of the electoral process in Pakistan but also reflected a troubling pattern of selective criticism and misinformation. Blatant disregard for ground realities and penchant for sensationalism betrayed a lack of understanding and empathy towards the complexities of Pakistani politics.

The insinuations of foreign interference and conspiracy theories propagated in tweets of US congressional members were irresponsible, undermining the enduring relationship between the two nations. Pakistan values its partnership with the United States based on mutual respect and cooperation, and it is regrettable to see certain individuals attempting to sow discord and mistrust in pursuance of their nefarious designs.

Notwithstanding above, the response from the US Department of State to such allegations was found to be typically measured and calibrated, as is evidenced by Spokesperson for the U.S. Department of State, Mathew Millar’s repeated statements.

In USA, there exists a culture, where congressional members can also be hired as the lobbyists in exchange of monetary gains. It is possible that 15-16 congressmen and congresswoman, who have issued statements against Pakistani elections are acting as hired guns to defame Pakistan and its armed forces besides stirring another spell of instability.

Notably, such individuals refrain conspicuously from speaking out against Israeli atrocities in Gaza, instead they advocate actively to suspend humanitarian aid to Gazans. Similarly, they remain silent on the injustices faced by Kashmiris under the Indian rule, yet are prompt to issue un-informed comments on Pakistan, disregarding the ground realities. Such double standards only expose the hypocrisy of those foreign officials, who prioritize their geopolitical interests over genuine humanitarian concerns.

As regards the motives behind unfounded allegations, it seems that certain foreign elements are seeking to preserve their influence in Pakistan while advancing a robed agenda in Pakistan’s domestic political arena. These efforts, cloaked under the guise of concern for democracy, serve only to perpetuate instability and undermine the will of the Pakistani people.

As informed Pakistanis, we must caution the extra-national forces with vested interests to refrain from further interference in the internal affairs of Pakistan and to respect the democratic will of Pakistani people. The sole purpose of malicious propaganda campaigns is to accentuate the existing political polarization and stir instability in a time, when nation has chosen to carry on with a fair political exercise with which it can chalk out its political future. The mandate given by Pakistani citizens to their elected representatives is sacrosanct, and it is hoped that the new government will continue to work tirelessly to address the challenges faced by the nation and uphold the aspirations of Pakistani people.

The views shared in this article reflect the author’s personal views and do not necessarily align with the institution’s official stance.

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