US envoy’s meeting with CEC sparks controversy ahead of Pakistan polls

The US State Department has clarified that it does not support any political party or candidate in Pakistan, amid speculations over the recent meeting between US Ambassador Donald Blome and Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) Sikander Sultan Raja.

State Department Spokesperson Matthew Miller said that the US only urges free and fair elections in Pakistan, as it does throughout the world. He added that the US remains committed to working with whomever the Pakistani people choose.

The meeting between Blome and Raja, which took place last month, raised eyebrows in Pakistan as it came at a time when uncertainty persists over the elections. President Arif Alvi is expected to announce the polls date soon, but he faces opposition from the ECP and the Law Ministry, who claim that he has no authority to do so under the latest amendment to Election Act.

The ECP may also face difficulties in holding the polls within 90 days of the dissolution of the assemblies, as the Council of Common Interest (CCI) approved the 7th Population and Housing Census 2023, which could affect the delimitation of constituencies.

The US embassy had issued a statement after Blome’s meeting with Raja, reaffirming America’s support for transparent elections conducted in accordance with Pakistan’s laws and constitution. The statement also reiterated that choosing Pakistan’s future leaders is for the Pakistani people to decide.

US maintains no position on Pakistan’s elections outcome: spokesperson

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