US hopes for peaceful, constitutional resolution to election disputes


The United States on Tuesday said that it respected Pakistani people’s choice in last Saturday’s election and urged all parties to resolve any poll disputes peacefully and in accordance with Constitution and law.

“We are aware of some of the reports of procedural irregularities during polling.  We urge all parties and their supporters to peacefully address any election disputes in accordance with Pakistan’s Constitutional and legal processes,” State Department spokesperson Jennifer Psaki said.

Responding to a question, Psaki, however, noted that these irregularities were limited to a very small region that was represented by a very small part of the elected body.

Asked if complaints of irregularities cast a pall over the election, she responded, “We encourage them to resolve these issues, but again, we respect and congratulate the people of Pakistan in their election.”

Furthermore, indicating that Secretary of State John Kerry would visit Pakistan after the formation of the new government, the State Department said that Washington would like to have a productive relationship with the new administration in Islamabad.

“We do look forward to working with the new government of Pakistan. Nawaz Sharif has indicated in his public remarks the importance he places on the US-Pakistan relationship,”

Psaki said.

“We’re going to let them form the government first.  That will happen in due time and then we’ll look forward to working with them on a range of issues”, the spokesperson added.

Questioned if Secretary of State John Kerry, who called Sharif to congratulate him on his election success, planned to visit Pakistan in the coming weeks, the spokesperson said, “He has indicated that he would like to go. I don’t have any trip announcements or dates for you on that.”

The spokesperson expressed appreciation for Nawaz Sharif’s remarks on reaching out to the Indian prime minister in an effort to improve relations between the two neighbours.

“We have seen those comments. I don’t want to analyse it too much, just yet but I must say that it is a positive step.”

When asked about the key priorities areas that Secretary Kerry would like to work with the new government, the spokesperson said:

“I think he looks forward to continuing a broad relationship of working together on a number of issues, including continuing to work on counterterrorism. I know that the Sharif has indicated that economic development and growth is one of his focuses, but their focus right now is of course on forming the government.  And once they do that, I’m sure they’ll have more substantive conversations with them”.

The spokesperson was also asked if Washington would support Pakistan in getting help of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) in dealing with the economic situation confronting it. She said the United States had been very supportive in the past of much-needed aid to Pakistan but added that she had nothing new to say on the subject.