Guterres urges authorities and political leaders to maintain calm atmosphere, says spokesperson

UN Chief Antonio Guterres. — AFP/File
UN Chief Antonio Guterres. — AFP/File
  • February 8 elections marred by allegations of rigging, irregularities. 
  • Secretary-general monitoring the situation in Pakistan: spox
  • US, UK and EU have also demanded probe into allegations.

ISLAMABAD: Amid growing calls for investigation into poll-related irregularities, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres Monday called on Pakistani authorities and political leaders to resolve the issues related to last week’s election through established legal procedures and to avoid any action that raised tensions.

The February 8 elections were marred by allegations of rigging and irregularities after the results suffered inordinate delay and mobile services remained suspended on the polling day.

Several political parties mainly Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) are holding sporadic protests across the country against alleged rigging in favour of the opponent candidates.

Independent candidates belonging to Imran Khan-led PTI are in the lead with 92 seats, followed by PML-N (79) and PPP (53).

In a statement, the UN chief also urged Pakistan to maintain a “calm atmosphere” in the country.

“The secretary-general is monitoring the situation in Pakistan and calls for the resolving all issues and disputes through the established legal frameworks, and for human rights and the rule of law, to be fully respected in the interest of the people of Pakistan,” his spokesperson, Stephane Dujarric, said in response to a question at the regular noon briefing in New York.

“The secretary general urges the authorities and political leaders to maintain a calm atmosphere, and to reject and refrain from all forms of violence and avoid any actions that could increase or inflame tensions.”

Other countries including US, UK and EU have also demanded Pakistan to probe the claims regarding election fraud.

“The claims of interference and fraud that we have seen raised and we want to ensure that these are fully investigated by Pakistan’s legal system. We will continue to monitor that in the days ahead,” State Department spokesperson Matthew Miller said at a regular press briefing on Monday.

Reacting to the calls for investigation, caretaker Prime Minister Anwaarul Haq Kakar rejected that Pakistan will investigate into alleged rigging into Feb 8 general elections under anyone’s pressure.

During a press conference at the PM House on Monday, Kakar was asked to comment on the demand of the United States and UK to investigate allegations of rigging and delay in the announcement of results.

The interim PM asked whether Pakistan had asked the US to investigate into Capitol Hill riots. “Pakistan is a sovereign state and will not bow to any pressure,” he added.

He observed that other countries and international forums make their assumption and opinions based on fractured information on social media.

“If there are any allegation, we will look into them according to our own laws and no demand of any other country,” he said.

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