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US monitoring Pakistan's electoral process quite closely: Official

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Vedant Patel

Vedant Patel (File photo)

Washington: The United States is closely monitoring Pakistan’s electoral process, an official of the US State Department has said, observing that it has concerns over the infringement with respect for freedom of expression, assembly, and associations. 

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Speaking at his regular press briefing, US State Department Deputy Spokesperson Vedant Patel said that it wants the broad participation of the people of Pakistan in the country's election.

"We’re continuing to monitor Pakistan’s electoral process quite closely, and as we have said, we want to see that process take place in a way that facilitates broad participation with respect for freedom of expression, assembly, and associations,” Patel said.

Pakistan will hold its general elections on February 8.

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"We have concerns of all incidents of violence and restrictions on media freedom; freedom of expression, including internet freedom; and peaceful assembly and association.  We’re concerned by some of the infringements that we’ve seen in that space.  

Pakistanis deserve to exercise their fundamental right to choose their future leaders through free and fair elections without fear, violence, or intimidation, and it is ultimately for the people of Pakistan to decide their political future,” Patel said.

Meanwhile, The New York Times reported that a political crackdown has been more visible in Pakistan than those in previous years, making this week’s vote among the least credible in the country’s history.

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“As Pakistan heads to the polls on Thursday, its powerful military is using a familiar playbook to sideline its nemesis of the hour, crippling PTI in the first national election since the party’s leader, former Prime Minister Imran Khan, ran afoul of the generals and was ousted by Parliament in 2022,” the daily reported.

The Foreign Policy reported that the military us still pulling the strings in Pakistan’s elections.

The Washington Post said Pakistan's election looks more like a coronation or a sure bet.

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