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Parsing Foreign Allegations Against Pakistan's Democratic Process

Parsing Foreign Allegations Against Pakistan's Democratic Process

By Manahil Jaffer


The recent uproar sparked by a number of Congressional members from the United States and the United Kingdom on the conduct of elections in Pakistan has raised eyebrows, igniting debates across the diplomatic circles. With claims of vested interests and biased rhetoric, such unfounded reservations have not only stirred the controversy but unveiled the underlying complexities of international relations.


The heart of the matter lies in the accusations hurled by certain foreign officials, suggesting misconduct and manipulation in Pakistan's electoral process. However, a meticulous examination of the situation reveals a different narrative, one shrouded in 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 and actively facilitated in monitoring the electoral process. Additionally, 174 foreign media journalists were invited, further demonstrating the accessibility of the elections to international scrutiny.
The Commonwealth Observer Group, with 25 members, actively monitored the polls and expressed satisfaction with their conduct. They noted the high voter turnout, 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 and monitored the elections and reported on their observations. The presence of observers from diverse countries, including Commonwealth nations, Russia, and Japan, underscores the international community's engagement and transparency in the electoral process.


The misleading and bias claims made by elements hostile to Pakistan, were met with strong rebuttals from authorities. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MoFA) issued a press statement on February 10th, 2024, condemning "baseless allegations and unfounded remarks" and highlighting the "prejudice and misinformation" driving these accusations. The statement further emphasized Pakistan's commitment to upholding democratic principles and reiterated the transparency of the electoral process.


The tweets issued by specific US congressional members on social media further corroborate this narrative. These tweets not only fail to acknowledge the ground realities of the electoral process but also reflect a troubling pattern of selective criticism and misinformation. Their blatant disregard for ground realities and penchant for sensationalism betray a lack of understanding and empathy towards the complexities of Pakistani politics. The insinuations of foreign interference and conspiracy theories propagated in these tweets are irresponsible and undermine the longstanding relationship between our two nations. Pakistan values its partnership with the United States based on mutual respect and cooperation, and it is regrettable to see certain individuals attempt to sow discord and mistrust.


The response from the Department of State or Foreign Office to such allegations is typically measured and calibrated, as evidenced by Spokesperson for the U.S. Department of State, Mathew Millar's statement. There exists a culture, where congressmen are hired as lobbyists for monetary gains, and it's apparent that the 15-16 congressmen and congresswoman, who have issued statements against Pakistani elections are essentially acting as hired guns to defame Pakistan and stir instability. Notably, these individuals conspicuously refrain from speaking out against Israeli atrocities in Gaza, instead actively advocate freezing of humanitarian aid to Gazans. Similarly, they remain silent on the injustices faced by Kashmiris under Indian rule, yet are prompt to issue uninformed comments on Pakistan, disregarding the ground realities. This double standard exposes the hypocrisy of certain foreign officials, who prioritize their geopolitical interests over genuine humanitarian concerns.


The crux of the matter lies in the motives behind these allegations. It is evident that certain foreign actors are driven by ulterior motives, seeking to preserve their influence and advance their agendas 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 urge extra national forces to refrain from further interference in the internal affairs of Pakistan and to respect the democratic will of our people. The sole purpose of such propaganda campaigns is to accentuate the existing political polarization and this instability in a time, when nation has chosen to carry on with a fair political exercise with which it can determine chalk out its political future. The mandate given by Pakistani citizens to their elected representatives is sacrosanct, and we are confident that our government will continue to work tirelessly to address the challenges facing our nation and uphold the aspirations of our peop

 

*Opinions expressed in this article are the writer's own and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of The South Asia Times   

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