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HindustanTimes Thu,17 Apr 2014

World

US looking forward to timely, free and fair elections in Pak
PTI
Washington, March 23, 2013
First Published: 08:26 IST(23/3/2013)
Last Updated: 08:32 IST(23/3/2013)

The United States is looking forward to timely, free and fair elections in Pakistan, a State Department official said on Thursday, after the announcement of the schedule of the national elections in Islamabad.

"We do understand that Pakistan has announced the date for the National Assembly elections of May 11th. We look forward to timely, free and fair elections that are going to result in the first civilian democratic transition of power in Pakistan's history," said Victoria Nuland spokesperson of the State Department.

"We obviously will look to the government of Pakistan with regard to any help or support they might need," she said when asked if the US would be sending any observers for the elections" she said.

"It is up to the people of Pakistan to decide who their representatives should be according to their democratic process," Nuland said when asked about the participation of the former Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf, in the coming elections.

"The US has a number of ongoing programs that support elections, clean, fair elections, in Pakistan," she said.

"We provide support through local organizations to encourage voter participation among groups that have historically low turnout, such as women.

She said that the US also provides grants for two-way communication forums for citizens to discuss the election process. "We also fund training for poll workers," Nuland said.

"The total amount of that assistance is about $6.5 million, but to date we haven't had any requests from the government of Pakistan for concrete support for the election itself," she added.

According to another State Department spokesperson, through the US Agency for International Development (USAID), the US government currently provides indirect non-partisan support to Pakistan's elections, just as we do in many parts of the world.

"The US has also funded training of polling officials and is providing support for domestic and international elections observers," the official said.


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