ISLAMABAD: The Foreign Office (FO) on Thursday avoided commenting on result of the Afghan presidential election.
“We have noted the announcement made by the Independent Election Commission of Afghanistan. We are monitoring the developments and will respond at an appropriate time,” said FO spokesperson Aisha Farooqui at the weekly media briefing.
While announcing results of the Sept 28 polls on Tuesday, Afghanistan’s election commission declared President Ashraf Ghani as the winner, securing 50.64 per cent of the votes, and Abdullah Abdullah, with 39.52 per cent of the votes, as the runner up.
Mr Abdullah, who held the position of chief executive before the election, rejected the results as “unfair” and declared himself the winner.
This was the fourth Afghan presidential election since fall of the Taliban government in 2001.
Spokesperson hopes Trump will raise Kashmir issue during India visit
It should be noted that several other countries — including the US, Britain, Russia and Iran — and the United Nations have avoided commenting on the results because of the controversy over the outcome.
This controversy has come ahead of the likely signing of a deal between the United States and the Taliban by the end of February, which is then expected to lead to intra-Afghan negotiations.
“Pakistan is keen to see the peace process move forward and lead towards intra-Afghan dialogue,” the spokesperson said.
Replying to a question about President Donald Trump’s visit to India from Feb 24 to Feb 25, Ms Farooqui said that Pakistan hopes the issues being faced by the people of India-held Jammu and Kashmir will be raised with the Indian government and the offer of mediation expressed by the US president is taken forward through some concrete practical step.
President Trump had last year, during Prime Minister Imran Khan’s visit to Washington, offered to mediate in the Kashmir dispute. A few months later he repeated the offer, but Delhi is adamant on not accepting a third party’s role.
India annexed occupied Kashmir last August by revoking Article 370 of its constitution, which gave the disputed region a special status. Since then India has imposed a lockdown in the region, which is now 200 days old, and launched a massive crackdown to prevent public reaction to its controversial move.
“On the 200th day of the lockdown today, the people in Indian-occupied Jammu and Kashmir continue to be deprived of their fundamental freedoms; their right to liberty, health, education and food ... (and they) face continued restrictions on their freedom of expression, freedom of assembly and freedom of religion,” the spokesperson said.
Published in Dawn, February 21st, 2020