Donald Lu Highlights ‘Irregularities’ In General Elections 2024 

Today (Wednesday), Lu is scheduled to appear before a Congressional subcommittee that has set a hearing on Pakistan.

Donald Lu Highlights ‘Irregularities’ In General Elections 2024 

Assistant Secretary of State Donald Lu pointed out anomalies in Pakistan's General Elections 2024 and underlined the US' commitment to improving Pakistan's democratic institutions. 

Today (Wednesday), Lu is scheduled to appear before a Congressional subcommittee that has set a hearing on Pakistan.

The House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee has planned a hearing titled 'Pakistan After the Elections: Examining the Future of Democracy in Pakistan and the US-Pakistan Relationship,' with the assistant secretary serving as a key witness. 

In his written statements, which the panel posted on its website on Tuesday, Lu emphasized a variety of concerns involving the two nations as well as what US strategy in Pakistan may entail.

He said that the State Department released a clear statement the day after Pakistan's general elections last month, highlighting disproportionate limitations on freedoms of expression, association, and peaceful assembly. 

According to Lu, the department criticized election violence, limits on human rights and basic freedoms, attacks on journalists, and restrictions on access to the internet and telecommunications services. 

They also voiced worry about reports of intervention in the electoral process and called for accusations of interference or fraud to be adequately probed, he added.

He said, "We were particularly worried about electoral violations and violence that transpired in the weeks preceding the elections." "First, terrorist organizations attacked police, lawmakers, and political rallies. Second, many journalists, particularly female journalists, were targeted and assaulted by party sympathizers. Furthermore, numerous political leaders were hampered by the inability to register particular candidates and political parties," he added. 

He also stated that on election day, a globally known local election monitoring organization was denied access to more than half of the country's constituencies to observe vote tallying.

"And despite a high court order not to halt the internet service on the day of the election, authorities suspended mobile data services, the primary means by which Pakistanis use social media and communication applications," he said.

However, the assistant secretary saw some good aspects in Pakistan's recent elections. 

Despite threats of violence, more than 60 million Pakistanis cast their votes, including over 21 million women. Voters elected 50% more women to parliament than in 2018. In addition to a record number of female candidates, representatives of religious and ethnic minority groups, as well as young people, competed for seats in parliament.