US Ambassador Donald Blome met with Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) Sikander Sultan Raja on Thursday. During their interaction, the ambassador underscored the United States’ commitment to transparent elections in Pakistan, in line with its legal and constitutional mandates. The US embassy statement highlighted that the decision-making power regarding Pakistan’s leadership rightfully belongs to its citizens. Blome emphasized that the US aims to strengthen its ties with Pakistan, irrespective of the elected leadership.
The Timing Controversy
The current political landscape in Pakistan is rife with speculation regarding the scheduling of general elections. The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) has embarked on the delimitation process, which is anticipated to span four months, casting doubts on the feasibility of elections this year. Additionally, concerns loom over potential biases during the electoral process. Recent actions against Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) and the incarceration of its leaders, especially the party head, are perceived as manoeuvres to inhibit the party’s election prospects.
Western nations, especially the US, vigilantly monitor Pakistan’s electoral developments. While minor delays for technical reasons might be acceptable, prolonged postponements, particularly those exceeding specific timelines, might not sit well with international observers. This context underscores the importance of the US ambassador’s meeting with the CEC.
On a related note, President Arif Alvi recently initiated dialogue with CEC Raja about adhering to the constitutional 90-day deadline for election scheduling, which culminates in early November. In these developments, the ECP reached out to major political entities to deliberate on the electoral mechanism amidst critiques from various sectors against the Commission’s perceived delays.