Washington, DC [US]: The spokesperson for the State Department, Mathew Miller on Friday said the US was looking for timely completion of the vote count and the declaration of the results of Pakistan's general elections, adding that the polling on Thursday included "undue restrictions" on freedoms of expression, association, and peaceful assembly.
"We now look forward to timely, complete results that reflect the will of the Pakistani people. We join credible international and local election observers in their assessment that these elections included undue restrictions on freedoms of expression, association, and peaceful assembly.
We condemn electoral violence, restrictions on the exercise of human rights and fundamental freedoms, including attacks on media workers, and restrictions on access to the Internet and telecommunication services, and are concerned about allegations of interference in the electoral process. Claims of interference or fraud should be fully investigated," a statement quoting the State Department spokesperson read.
The State Department stated further that the US was ready to work with the next Pakistani government, "regardless of political party," to advance the shared interests between Washington and Islamabad."
"The United States is prepared to work with the next Pakistani government, regardless of political party, to advance our shared interests. We look forward to bolstering our partnership by supporting Pakistan's economy through trade and investment.
We will continue to support Pakistan strengthening its democratic institutions, engage through the US-Pakistan Green Alliance Framework, broaden people-to-people ties, and promote human rights including freedom of expression," Miller said in the statement.
"We are also committed to strengthening our security cooperation and creating an environment of safety and security that affords the Pakistani people the peace, democracy, and progress they deserve," he added.
The US also commended the Pakistani people for coming out to vote in huge numbers and said that it looks forward to "timely and complete" results."
Millions of Pakistanis made their voices heard by voting in Pakistan's elections on February 8, with record numbers of Pakistani women, members of religious and ethnic minority groups, and youth registered. We commend Pakistani poll workers, civil society, journalists and election observers for their work to protect and uphold Pakistan's democratic and electoral institutions," Miller said.
Significantly, however, former Pakistan PM Imran Khan, currently incarcerated, was disqualified from contesting the elections due to criminal convictions. The electoral symbol of the PTI was also taken away by the ECP in a ruling later backed by the Pakistan apex court.
As a result, the PTI leaders and supporters contested as independent candidates, Dawn reported.
Meanwhile, Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) supremo Nawaz Shairf and Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari, co Chairman Asif Ali Zardari held a meeting in Lahore, Dawn News reported quoting sources.
The meeting came shortly after Nawaz claimed victory in general elections held a day earlier, and invited his allies to form a coalition government.
The PPP and PML-N were both part of the PDM government that took over from PTI after Imran Khan's ouster from the prime minister's office in 2022.
Meanwhile, according to the unofficial provisional results reported by Dawn News for 212 out of 266 seats, the independent candidates, mostly backed by Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaaf (PTI) are leading with 82 seats.
On the other hand, Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) which has emerged as the single largest party, is trailing with 64 seats, followed by the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) at 40 seats.