Polls internal affair of Pakistan as sovereign country: FO

Says observers declared elections fair | Pouring money into held Kashmir can’t change its status | Israel’s cruelty in Palestine condemned

ISLAMABAD  -  Pakistan yesterday said that general elec­tions were an internal affair of Pakistan as a sovereign and democratic country.

Speaking at a weekly news briefing here, Foreign Office spokesperson Mumtaz Zah­ra Baloch expressed Pakistan’s firm stance on its electoral process, emphasizing that it is an internal affair governed by sovereign­ty and a dedication to fulfilling constitution­al obligations.

She particularly highlighted the unprec­edented participation of millions of voters, including a substantial turnout of women and young individuals.

Baloch underscored Pakistan’s openness to international scrutiny, welcoming foreign observers, notably a delegation from the Commonwealth, as evidence of the nation’s commitment to transparent elections.

Earlier, the United States said Washing­ton joins “credible international and local election observers in their assessment that these elections included undue restrictions on freedoms of expression, association, and peaceful assembly. We are concerned about allegations of interference in the elector­al process. Claims of interference or fraud should be fully investigated.”

The United Kingdom also voiced “serious concerns raised about the fairness and lack of inclusivity of the elections”.

UK Foreign Secretary David Cameron said “not all parties” were able to formally con­test the election and that “legal processes” were used to prevent some political leaders from participating.

The European Union said it regretted “the lack of a level playing field due to the ina­bility of some political actors to contest the elections, restrictions to freedom of assem­bly, freedom of expression both online and offline, restrictions of access to the internet, as well as allegations of severe interference in the electoral process, including arrests of political activists.”

Mumtaz Zahra Baloch asserted Pakistan’s independence in decision-making, affirm­ing that the country’s actions concerning freedoms and democracy, were rooted in its constitutional duties and are not swayed by external counsel.

She cited the positive findings of the Com­monwealth observer group’s interim re­port, which praised the transparency and inclusivity of the electoral process.

Regarding India’s financial allocation for Jammu and Kashmir, she rejected the notion that monetary investments could absolve the occupying power of its responsibilities or legitimize its unlawful occupation, reit­erating Pakistan’s steadfast support for the self-determination of the Kashmiri people, as endorsed by UN Security Council resolu­tions.

She acknowledged the historical com­plexities in Pakistan-India relations but ex­pressed Pakistan’s consistent pursuit of peaceful coexistence, lamenting India’s hos­tile approach, which hampers prospects for normalization.

She appreciated the Organization of Is­lamic Cooperation’s condemnation of Israe­li aggression against Gaza, urging urgent UN Security Council intervention to alleviate the humanitarian crisis and end the siege on Gaza.

Baloch highlighted Pakistan’s diplomatic outreach efforts, exemplified by the formal establishment of ties with the Common­wealth of Dominica, signalling Pakistan’s commitment to expanding its global part­nerships.

She condemned India’s ongoing crack­down on dissent in Indian Illegally Occu­pied Jammu and Kashmir, calling for the re­lease of political prisoners and advocating for a just resolution of the Kashmir dispute in accordance with UN Security Council res­olutions, reaffirming Pakistan’s unwavering support for the Kashmiri people.

To a question if Pakistan will accept Am­bassador of the Taliban government after China’s green signal to the Taliban Ambas­sador in their country, the spokesperson said: “First of all, this decision by China is according to their own legal systems and their own internal considerations. Pakistan will take any decisions in this respect ac­cording to its own laws and national prior­ities. And as I said, any future direction in this respect will be set by the new elected government.”

She said there was “no change in our po­sition with respect to our relations with Afghanistan, and our policy remains con­sistent. Pakistan will continue to pursue friendly ties with Afghanistan while contin­uing to raise the concerns that we have on some important issues especially the ques­tion of terrorism and security.”

She added: “Any future direction on Paki­stan’s policy towards Afghanistan will come from the elected government when it takes office.”

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