Caretaker Foreign Minister Jalil Abbas Jilani assured Acting Deputy Secretary of State and Under Secretary for Political Affairs Victoria Nuland from the Biden administration that Pakistan’s general elections will be held within the stipulated timeframe as per the country’s Constitution.
This affirmation was given amid concerns that the ongoing delimitation exercise by the Election Commission of Pakistan, based on the digital census, might cause delays in the elections.
The US State Department stated that both officials discussed the significance of timely, free, and fair elections in Pakistan, in line with the country’s laws and Constitution. They also touched upon broader aspects of the US-Pakistan partnership, including economic stability, prosperity, and continued engagement with the IMF.
Foreign Minister Jilani confirmed this conversation with the acting US deputy secretary of state, emphasizing that the elections would be conducted within the constitutional timeframe and debunking any impression of external pressure on the caretaker government regarding the elections. He also noted that there were no discussions on internal matters during interactions with foreign dignitaries.
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Jilani highlighted the evolving relationship between Pakistan and the US, noting that the two countries have a broader understanding on various issues, including Afghanistan. He mentioned the absence of critical statements from the US administration as an indicator of improved relations. He characterized Pakistan’s relationship with the US as “extremely important” due to significant trade ties.
While acknowledging the significance of the US relationship, he also underlined China’s role as Pakistan’s “true friend,” especially evidenced by the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC). He emphasized that Pakistan would not get entangled in bloc politics and would maintain a balanced approach in the US-China rivalry.
Jilani also mentioned the importance of Pakistan’s relationship with the European Union (EU) and the Gulf countries. He highlighted the Special Investment Facilitation Council’s role in attracting Gulf country investments. Addressing the cipher controversy involving former Prime Minister Imran Khan, he stated that he would not disclose confidential communications.
The call’s statement did not reference former Prime Minister Imran Khan, who had previously blamed the US and Pakistan’s military for his removal from office.