The Election Commission of Pakistan questioned on Thursday the neutrality of Pakistan’s caretaker government in holding national elections. The Election Commission alleged that the government compromises impartiality in the election process by unfairly favoring opponents of jailed former Prime Minister Imran Khan.
In a letter the commission wrote to incumbent Prime Minister Anwar ul Haq Kakar on Wednesday, the Election Commission called upon the government to set a date for the delayed elections. It criticized the government for conducting biased elections and disallowing Khan from participating in elections.
The Election Commission also disapproved with the government’s delay of elections and stated that the current caretaker government has generally been perceived as a continuation of the previous government. Kakar is a member of Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PMLN), Khan’s largest rival party. PMLN established the caretaker government after Khan lost a no-confidence vote in April 2022 and was removed from government. The previous government was led by Khan, who has been accused of orchestrating violent protests and leaking state secrets since he was removed from government.
Nonetheless, incumbent Information Minister Murtaza Solangi rejected the notion that the government’s elections contain bias. He said that the caretaker government will cooperate with the Election Commission to provide a fair election process to parties. Haroon Khan, spokesperson of the Election Commission, did not respond to this statement.
In light of Pakistan’s delay of elections, US State Department Spokesperson Matthew Miller urged Pakistan to conduct elections in accordance with local laws. He also urged the Pakistan government to ensure that elections are free, fair, and timely and are conducted with respect to human rights and the rule of law.