In a tit-for-tat move, Pakistan passes resolution against US call for poll probe

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In a tit-for-tat move, Pakistan passes resolution against US call for poll probe

ISLAMABAD: In response to the United States House of Representatives vote to demand a probe into alleged irregularities in Pakistan’s general elections, the National Assembly on Friday passed a resolution to condemn the US Congress resolution and termed it “contrary to facts” and “interference” in its internal affairs.

The resolution was tabled by Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) lawmaker Shaista Pervaiz Malik, and passed by a majority in the National Assembly amid a noisy protest of the opposition benchers.

Through the resolution, the NA expressed sorrow over the US House Resolution 901 which demanded a “full and independent investigation of claims of interference or irregularities” after expressing concerns over the February 8 polls.
The US resolution was completely against fact, it stated, adding that Pakistan would not tolerate any kind of interference in its internal affairs as an independent and sovereign state.

The lower house of parliament also demanded the US to maintain bilateral ties with Pakistan on mutual respect.

MNA Shaista further said that the resolution passed by the US House of Representatives was a clear “interference in internal affairs” despite being non-binding.

She also slammed the opposition lawmakers for “encouraging an attack on Pakistan’s sovereignty” after a country dared to “intervene in our internal matters”.

The US House was apparently taking notice of the “expression of supporting democracy in Pakistan”, she read, adding that the US resolution was the result of “incomplete information and misunderstanding” regarding Pakistan’s political and electoral process.

It was a sorrowful development that the US resolution rejected the independent exercise of voting rights of millions of Pakistanis in the February 8 nationwide polls, the resolution read.

MNA Shaista, via her resolution, urged the US Congress to play a constructive role in cementing Pakistan-US bilateral ties and focusing on the two-sided interests of both countries.

She further urged the US Congress to pay attention to serious human rights violations in Gaza and Kashmir.

The Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) backed Sunni Ittehad Council (SIC) lawmakers opposed the resolution, chanted slogans of “Cipher-Cipher” and “Shame-Shame” in the House, as well as tore the resolution copies.

The PML-N lawmaker also slammed the opposition lawmakers for “encouraging an attack on Pakistan’s sovereignty” after a country dared to “intervene in our internal matters”.

The US House of Representatives, earlier this week, in an overwhelming majority, voted to demand a “full and independent investigation of claims of interference or irregularities” in the polls.

The resolution HR 901 was passed by a massive 368 against seven votes on Tuesday, which makes 85% of the total American lawmakers in the legislature.

Through the resolution, the US lawmakers had emphasised the need for the Pakistani public’s participation in the country’s democratic process months after its general polls were contested as “rigged” and its outcome termed “delayed” by political parties now seated on the opposition benches in the legislature.

The PTI is among those opposing the results of the polls after its candidates faced immense hurdles in their run-up to their participation in the vote, leading them to participate as independent candidates and being deprived of their iconic bat symbol following a legal battle with the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP).

The country’s two major parties, PML-N and Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP), along with other political parties, formed a coalition government in the Centre following the polls, leaving the candidates of PTI and other political parties with the opposition seats.

The US move triggered a strong response from Islamabad, with the Foreign Office saying it “stems from an incomplete understanding of the political situation and electoral process in Pakistan”.

Yesterday, Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Senator Ishaq Dar, while speaking on the floor of the National Assembly, announced the government’s plan to “bring a resolution to show sovereignty and unity” as a nation.

Meanwhile, the PTI, whose members won a majority number of seats in the National Assembly, welcomed the US resolution, terming it a move in the right direction.