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US Democrats urge Biden not to recognize new govt in Pakistan: Rigging allegations

WASHINGTON: Democratic lawmakers in the United States, including President Joe Biden’s allies, are urging caution regarding the recognition of a new government in Pakistan until thorough investigations into allegations of election rigging are conducted.

In a joint letter addressed to President Biden and Secretary of State Antony Blinken, the lawmakers raised concerns about both pre- and post-election irregularities in Pakistan’s recent parliamentary elections.

They stressed the need for a transparent and credible investigation before acknowledging a new Pakistani government, citing evidence of electoral violations and disruptions on polling day.

All 33 signatories of the letter are influential progressive Democrats crucial for President Biden’s re-election campaign.

Notably, during a recent Michigan primary, President Biden faced a significant challenge from an “uncommitted” campaign, led by activists critical of his stance on the Gaza conflict, surpassing Trump’s 2016 margin by over 10,000 votes.

This development has raised concerns within the Biden camp, particularly as influential Muslim lawmakers in Michigan have also endorsed the letter.

Among the Muslim members from Michigan who signed the letter are Rashida Tlaib, Ilhan Omar, and Andre Carson. Pramila Jayapal, chairperson of the Progressive Caucus and an advocate for the Kashmir cause, has also endorsed the letter. Additionally, Chair Emeritus Barbara Lee and Whip Greg Casar have added their signatures, along with Ilhan Omar, serving as the deputy chair of the Caucus.

In addition to urging caution in recognizing the new government, the lawmakers called on State Department officials to gather information about detained political activists and media personnel in Pakistan and advocate for their release. They underscored the importance of conveying to Pakistani authorities that U.S. law mandates accountability for human rights violations, democracy-undermining acts, or corruption-fostering activities.

The lawmakers highlighted concerns about post-election irregularities, including delays in reporting results, video evidence of abuses, and discrepancies in vote totals. They referred to reports by nonpartisan observers, emphasizing the need for a transparent and credible audit process before acknowledging a new Pakistani government.

The dispute revolves around discrepancies between polling center results issued to candidates and the final constituency-wide tally. The lawmakers noted that respected election monitors, human rights organizations, and Dawn, Pakistan’s leading newspaper, echoed these findings.

They argued that safeguarding democracy in Pakistan and ensuring that election results genuinely reflect the people’s interests, rather than those of the elite and military, are aligned with U.S. interests.

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I am an experienced writer, analyst, and author. My exposure in English journalism spans more than 28 years. In the past, I have been working with daily The Muslim (Lahore Bureau), daily Business Recorder (Lahore/Islamabad Bureaus), Daily Times, Islamabad, daily The Nation (Lahore and Karachi). With daily The Nation, I have served as Resident Editor, Karachi. Since 2009, I have been working as a Freelance Writer/Editor for American organizations.

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