- Free, credible, transparent and inclusive polls crucial for Pakistan, she says.
- Both dignitories meet as country awaits announcement for next elections.
- In earlier meeting, US envoy also urged “free and fair elections”.
British High Commissioner to Pakistan Jane Marriott Wednesday stressed free, credible, transparent and inclusive elections in Pakistan in a meeting with Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) Sikandar Sultan Raja in Islamabad.
The British envoy shared on her account on X, formerly Twitter, about the meeting with the CEC at the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) office in the federal capital.
“Important introductory meeting with Chief Election Commissioner Sikandar Sultan Raja at ECP today,” Marriot wrote in her post.
The diplomat added that she and the CEC agreed that it is crucial for Pakistan to witness “free, credible, transparent and inclusive elections in line with the law”.
The meeting between the UK envoy and CEC Raja comes at a time when the country is awaiting the announcement for the next general polls which, at the moment, remain in limbo owing to the matter of delimitation of constituencies following the digital census held earlier this year.
This is not the first time that a foreign envoy has met the ECP chief and commented on the conduct of general polls in the country.
Last month, United States’ Ambassador Donald Blome also met CEC Raja to reaffirm his country’s support for “free and fair elections”, adding that it would work to strengthen the US-Pakistan relationship with “whomever the Pakistani people choose”.
“The United States remains committed to working to broaden and deepen the US-Pakistan relationship with whomever the Pakistani people choose,” a statement from the US embassy’s spokesperson read.
The US ambassador reiterated that choosing Pakistan’s future leaders is for the Pakistani people to decide, the statement added.
Blome also reaffirmed that America would back transparent elections “conducted in accordance with Pakistan’s laws and constitution”.
The date of elections in Pakistan remains a contentious matter, particularly following the dissolution of the National Assembly on August 9 by the then-Shehbaz Sharif-led government.
The Sindh and Balochistan assemblies, meanwhile, were also prematurely dissolved to allow the electoral authority to hold elections in the country within 90 days.
Under the law, polls should be held in 60 days if the legislature completes its constitutional tenure, however, the deadline is three months if assemblies are dissolved prematurely.
Furthermore, the general elections in the country are likely to be delayed after the Council of Common Interest (CCI), days before the dissolution of the assemblies, approved the 7th Population and Housing Census 2023.
The move led to concerns from several quarters, including the Pakistan Peoples Party, which was part of the coalition government that ratified the census.