WASHINGTON - Several lawmakers of the United States, including Congressman Brad Sherman, have called for free, fair, and internationally-monitored general elections in Pakistan.
The demand by members of the Congress came during an event, 'Status of Human Rights and Democracy in Pakistan', where critical issues in Pakistan, including upcoming general elections, arrests, as well as the significance of free media, and democracy came under discussion.
"This is a difficult time for Pakistan. America is dedicated to the rule of law and democracy,” Congressman Sherman said. He said that US lawmakers look forward to free, transparent and monitored elections as required by Pakistani law, which he believes is “either in October or early November depending upon how things work out”.
The event was organised by known Pakistani-American Dr Asif Mahmood with Congressmen Sherman and Jim Costa.
During the almost two-hour-long event, the Pakistani government was repeatedly urged to announce an election date and allow international monitoring to ensure free, fair and transparent elections.
Congressman Kweisi Mfume even demanded that “the oversight should come from the United Nations.” Meanwhile, Pakistan’s Ambassador to the United States, Masood Khan, held separate meetings with three key US lawmakers to discuss Islamabad-Washington relations, economic partnership, defense ties, and security collaboration, said a Pakistani embassy press release. Ambassador Khan, conferred with Senator Todd Young, who serves on Committees on Finance. Foreign Relations, Commerce, Science & Transportation, and Small Business and Entrepreneurship; Congressman Mike Rogers, Chairman of the Armed Services Committee, and Congresswoman Ilhan Omar, Deputy Chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, also discussed climate adaptation and mitigation as well as regional developments.
“Met with pleasure Senator Todd Young @SenToddYoung, a great leader from Indiana, to explore ways to strengthen Pak-US economic partnership. Discussed issues related to regional security,” the Ambassador tweeted after the meeting.
Masood Khan also discussed the same subjects with Congressman Rogers, Chairman Armed Services Committee. The two sides agreed to continue their talks. After meeting with Congresswoman Omar, Masood Khan tweeted that he had discussed a range of subjects, including Pak-US relations, developments in the region, and climate adaptation and mitigation. He lauded Congresswoman Omar’s work on promoting human security. Congresswoman Ilhan Omar is the Vice-Ranking Member of the House Budget Committee. She also serves on the House Education and Workforce Committee, where she is a member of the Subcommittee on Workforce Protections and the Subcommittee on Health, Employment, Labor, and Pensions (HELP).