ISLAMABAD: Just weeks after US Ambas­sador Donald Blome met Chief Election Commissioner Sikandar Sultan Raja to reaffirm his country’s support for free and fair elections, British High Commis­sioner Jane Marriott had an “important introductory meeting” with the CEC, which raised many eyebrows.

“We agreed that it’s crucial the country sees free, credible, transparent and inclusive elections in line with the law,” Ms Marriott posted on X, formerly Twitter.

The meeting kicked up a storm, with many questioning meetings of diplomats with the CEC, ter­ming it an uncalled-for interference in the internal affairs of the country.

The PTI lodged the stro­ngest protest.

The aims and objectives of the Bri­tish high commissioner’s visit to the ECP’s headq­u­arters are comple­tely in­­comprehensible, a spokesperson for the PTI said and exp­ressed concern over the Foreign Office’s silence on such visits.

He alleged that the CEC was the key facilitator of attempts to deviate from the Constitution and cause harm to democracy.

He said the Supreme Court had illustrated the unconstitutional role of the ECP in its April 4 order on Punjab polls.

“The Foreign Office should tell the world that the ECP was averse to discharging its constitutional duty to hold elections within 90 days after dissolution of an Assembly,” he said.

Published in Dawn, September 14th, 2023

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