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Closely monitoring situation in poll-bound Pakistan: US

The US remained non-committal on sending its election observers in Pakistan. (File)

The US on Tuesday said it is “closely” monitoring the situation in Pakistan which goes to polls on Wednesday, emphasising that it supports free, fair, transparent and accountable elections in the country.

Pakistan will go to the polls tomorrow to elect a new prime minister in the second democratic transition of power in the nation’s 70-year chequered history amid accusations of manipulation by the powerful army and concerns over the participation of Islamic hardliners in large numbers.

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Ahead of the polls, a State Department spokesperson said, “The United States is monitoring developments closely as millions of Pakistanis prepare to cast their vote in Wednesday’s national election.”

“We support free, fair, transparent and accountable elections in Pakistan, as we do around the world; and we encourage all Pakistanis to peacefully exercise their democratic right to vote,” the spokesperson said.

The US remained non-committal on sending its election observers in Pakistan.

“US Mission Pakistan is evaluating whether the conditions exist that would enable the participation of its election observers on Wednesday,” the official said in response to a question.

Asked about allegations that the Pakistan Army is meddling in the elections, the spokesperson said the US will not comment on Pakistan’s internal politics.

“It is vital that all of Pakistan’s institutions support and respect the free will of the Pakistani people, expressed through these upcoming elections,” the spokesperson said.

The State Department spokesperson noted that Pakistan’s Election Commission rejected registration of the Milli Muslim League (MML) in June, citing its linkages to Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT), an internationally-sanctioned terrorist organisation.

The US State Department also amended its Foreign Terrorist Organisation designation of LeT in April to add MML as an alias of the group, the official said.

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