Formation Of New Govt Is Pakistan’s Internal Matter: State Dept

US State Department Spokesperson Matthew Miller reiterates the demand for a probe into accusations of poll rigging

Formation Of New Govt Is Pakistan’s Internal Matter: State Dept

The United States Wednesday stated that allegations of interference or fraud in the February 8 general elections need to be thoroughly and transparently investigated as per Pakistan's laws but maintained that the formation of a new government in Islamabad was Pakistan's internal matter.

This was asserted during the daily news briefing by the US State Department in Washington.

"Any claims of interference or fraud should be fully and transparently investigated in accordance with Pakistan's own laws and procedures. And that, of course, includes this claim as well," said US State Department Spokesperson Matthew Miller during the news conference in response to a question about the Rawalpindi Commissioner Liaquat Ali's weekend claims of illegally inflating votes of losing candidates to help them win.

When he was asked about the formation of a new government in Islamabad and whether Washington would ask Pakistan's political leadership to respect PTI's mandate, Miller responded by suggesting that it was Pakistan's internal matter.

"I don't want to get into an internal Pakistani matter, which I very much believe that the formation of a new government is," he said, adding, "That's a matter that I will leave to Pakistan."

However, he reiterated that when it comes to claims of interference or allegations of irregularities, "we want to see those fully investigated."

Miller's comments suggested that going forward, the US would like to deal with a government in Islamabad which enjoyed a transparent mandate rather than a tainted one.

The comments from the US State Department came as the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Islamabad said that "they are not aware of any bilateral messaging that has taken place post-elections", referring to how the US had privately and publicly raised concerns with Pakistani officials over the election irregularities.

To questions from The Friday Times about US Ambassador Donald Blome's meeting with former foreign minister and Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) Chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari just two days after the general elections and whether the US had directed its diplomatic mission to engage with officials or politicians who could end up in the new government, the State Department spokesperson declined to discuss private engagements of its diplomats.

"But we have made clear that we want to see any claims of any irregularities or claimed irregularities fully investigated."

It is pertinent to note that around the time of the State Department's press briefing in Washington, Bilawal announced in Islamabad that the PPP will support the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) to form the next government in Pakistan. At the same time, Bilawal's father and PPP Co-Chairman Asif Ali Zardari will likely be Pakistan's next President.