US State Department expresses concern over LeT affiliates participating in upcoming Pakistan elections

The US State Department has stated its concerns about the participation of Lashkar-e-Taiba affiliated individuals in the July 25 elections to Islamabad.

In a statement a copy of which is available with Dawn, the department noted with satisfaction that the Pakistan Election Commission had rejected the registration of Milli Muslim League(MML) in June, “citing its linkages to LeT, an internationally-sanctioned terr­orist organisation”.

“We have repeatedly expressed our concerns to the Pakistani government about LeT, including the participation of LeT-affiliated individuals in the elections,” the statement said.

Earlier, the state department expressed the urgent need to continuance of elections despite terrorist attacks. Similarly, the European Union urged Islamabad for ensuring that electoral activities in all parts of Pakistan continued in “safe and secure conditions”.

US State Department’s spokesperson Heather Nauert said that ‘such attacks on political candidates and their supporters were cowardly attempts to deprive the Pakistani people of their democratic rights’.

The European Union said that it expected Pakistani authorities to “take all the necessary steps to ensure that electoral activities in all parts of the country take place in safe and secure conditions”.

All political contestants and citizens should be able to “exercise their constitutional rights to participate in the forthcoming general elections without intimidation or fear for their security,” it added.

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