LONDON: The British government has said that it is concerned “about the fairness and lack of inclusivity of the elections” held on February 8.
In a statement as the final count was still to be announced, Foreign Secretary Lord David Cameron said the UK and Pakistan enjoy a close and long-standing relationship, underpinned by strong links between our people.
He commended the voters but said: “We regret that not all parties were formally permitted to contest the elections and that legal processes were used to prevent some political leaders from participation, and to prevent the use of recognisable party symbols. We also note the restrictions imposed on internet access on polling day, significant delays to the reporting of results and claims of irregularities in the counting process.”
Lord Cameron said in reference to Imran Khan’s Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaaf (PTI) losing the Bat symbol ahead of elections and inability of many senior leaders not to take part in elections.
He said: “The UK urges authorities in Pakistan to uphold fundamental human rights including free access to information, and the rule of law. This includes the right to a fair trial, through adherence to due process and an independent and transparent judicial system, free from interference.”
Lord Cameron said the UK govt looked forward to working Pakistan’s next govt. He said: “The election of a civilian government with the mandate to deliver crucial reforms is essential for Pakistan to flourish. The new government must be accountable to the people it serves, and work to represent the interests of all Pakistan’s citizens and communities with equity and justice. We look forward to working with Pakistan’s next government to achieve this, and across the range of our shared interests.”
David Cameron, the former British leader who forced the Brexit referendum, returned to PM Rishi Sunak’s government as foreign secretary four months ago.