Pakistan Expresses Discontent Over Election-Related Remarks In US Congressional Hearing

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Foreign Office Spokesperson Mumtaz Zahra Baloch addressed concerns on Thursday, emphasizing Pakistan’s appreciation for its relationship with the United States while addressing misunderstandings regarding Pakistan’s election laws that arose during a Congressional panel hearing the previous day.

“In yesterday’s meeting with the American committee, there were various misconceptions regarding Pakistan election laws,” stated the spokesperson during the Foreign Office’s weekly press briefing.

Donald Lu, the US Assistant Secretary of State, served as a key witness at a hearing titled ‘Pakistan After the elections: Examining the future of Democracy in Pakistan and the US Pakistan relationship’, where he advocated for an investigation into electoral fraud claims. Lu also highlighted “undue restrictions on freedom of expression, and peaceful assembly” during the February 8 polls.

Regarding the sentencing of Dr. Shakeel Afridi, who assisted the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) in locating Al Qaeda founder Osama Bin Laden in Pakistan, Baloch reiterated Pakistan’s stance, noting that Afridi had been convicted by a Pakistani court. She declined to discuss prisoner exchanges in the media.

Baloch addressed progress on the Pak-Iran gas pipeline project, asserting Pakistan’s commitment to its construction, emphasizing that it is a decision for the Pakistani government to make.

Touching on the recent terror attack in Gwadar, Baloch praised the security forces for thwarting the assault and labeled militant groups like the Balochistan Liberation Army as a regional threat.

She also discussed recent altercations with Afghanistan following attacks on Pakistan’s security forces and subsequent retaliatory actions. Baloch stated that Pakistan conducted an operation in Afghanistan based on intelligence information, emphasizing that it was not against the Afghan people or army. She noted that Pakistan had provided details of terrorist hideouts to Afghanistan and reiterated Pakistan’s desire for better relations and cooperation with its neighbor.

Baloch underscored Pakistan’s commitment to dialogue and respect for Afghanistan’s sovereignty, reiterating the goal of fostering improved relations between the two countries.

 

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