CEC held meeting with US ambassador against foreign ministry’s ‘advice’
Sources say ministry had also sent policy brief in event of meeting: CEC Sikandar Sultan Raja ignored Foreign Office’s opinion
By News Desk
September 4, 2023 03:16 PM
The chief election commissioner has tried to take even matters of foreign policy into his own hands and held meetings with foreign ambassadors, reported 24NewsHD TV channel on Monday.
According to diplomatic sources, Chief Election Commissioner Sikandar Sultan Raja held a meeting with the American ambassador on August 24 last against the advice of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
The Election Commission of Pakistan itself had sought an opinion of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs on the matter of holding a conference with US Ambassador to Pakistan Donald Blome. However, the ministry advised the CEC against holding any such meeting.
The sources said that the Ministry of Foreign Affairs had also sent a policy brief in the event of a meeting due to unavoidable reasons.
CEC Sikandar Sultan Raja ignored the opinion of the Foreign Office, diplomatic sources said adding that a brief statement issued by the American Embassy revealed the meeting between its ambassador and the Pakistani CEC.
During the meeting, Blome assured the US support for "free and fair elections", saying it would work to strengthen the US-Pakistan relationship with "whomever the Pakistani people choose".
"The United States remains committed to working to broaden and deepen the US-Pakistan relationship with whomever the Pakistani people choose", a statement from the US embassy's spokesperson read.
Much concern has been found among the diplomatic circles regarding the meeting.
An impression has been created that perhaps America is trying to influence the elections in Pakistan or it is supporting the Election Commission’s stance on polls.
Political leaders are also viewing the meeting between American ambassador and the chief election commissioner as an interference in Pakistan's internal affairs, sources concluded.
Reporter Mohsinul Mulk