Raza Rabbani alarmed over ECP huddles with foreign diplomats

PPP senator says that elections were an internal affair of Pakistan

ISLAMABAD  -  Former chairman Senate and Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) Senator Raza Rabbani on Thursday raised alarms over recent meetings of Chief Election Commissioner Sikandar Sultan Raja with the foreign diplomats.

“It is inappropriate for diplomats in Islamabad to individually meet the Chief Election Commissioner, as the (Election) Commission has entered the election mode after the dissolution of the National Assembly,” he said in a statement. He further said that it was incorrect for diplomats in Islamabad to continuously make statements on the timing and transparency of elections. The development comes days after US Ambassador Donald Blome had met Chief Election Commissioner Sikan­dar Sultan Raja to reaffirm the United States’ support for conducting free and fair elections in Pakistan in accordance with its laws and Constitution.

Senator Rabbani said that elections were an internal affair of Pakistan, and a bit of their political sovereignty was left that should not be eroded by outside comments and observations.

“We are not a client state, our fi­nancial and political sovereignty may be compromised for the moment but we are a proud people,” he added. He also said that Pakistan’s foreign min­ister needed to talk to officials of his own ranking rather than the Acting Deputy Secretary. A day earlier, US Acting Deputy Secretary of State Vic­toria Nuland had talked to caretaker Foreign Minister Jalil Abbas Jilani over phone. Both leaders discussed the importance of timely, free and fair elections in a manner consistent with Pakistan’s laws and Constitu­tion, according to a statement issued by the US State Department.

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