Saturday, February 24, 2024

Canada condemns violence that marred parliamentary polls in Pakistan

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Toronto: Canada has condemned the violence that marred parliamentary elections in Pakistan while expressing its concern over the process.

Police (right) stand guard as supporters of the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) protest outside an election commission office in Karachi on Saturday, amid claims the election result delay is allowing authorities to rig the vote-counting. (AFP)

Several other countries, including the United States, the United Kingdom as well as the European Union have already expressed their concern over the polls to the National Assembly which were held on February 8.

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In a statement on Saturday, Global Affairs Canada, the country’s foreign ministry, said, “We condemn the incidents of electoral violence, which are attacks on democracy. Canada remains committed to supporting the people of Pakistan in their aspirations for a more stable, prosperous and democratic future.”

The statement added, “We join civil society, including the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan, in their concerns about the lack of a free, fair and transparent democratic process, including cellular and Internet service disruptions and attacks on media workers.”

It said that Canada will “remain a firm and consistent voice, speaking up for the protection and promotion of human rights and the advancement of democratic values in Pakistan”.

The statement came as the elections were held with former Pakistan prime minister Imran Khan incarcerated and unable to campaign during the elections and his party, Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaaf (PTI) barred from fielding candidates under its banner. Though its candidates ran as independents and emerged as the largest bloc in the elections, several results changed overnight in favour of the Pakistan Muslim League and its leader, former prime minister Nawaz Sharif, who has the support of the powerful Armed forces to head the country.

Pakistan People’s Party is another significant factor as it holds the balance of power in the formation of the next government. In Islamabad.

Canada congratulated the millions of citizens who voted in the elections and said it will “continue to work with Pakistan on our shared priorities, including enhancing climate resilience, strengthening trade and advancing gender equality”.

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