WASHINGTON  - The United States does not support any Pakistani political party or a candidate contesting the May 11 elections, a State Department spokesman said Tuesday, while denouncing the ongoing violence as the electoral race heats up.
Patrick Ventrell, a State Department spokesman, condemned the recent statements by militant groups indicating their intent to disrupt Pakistan’s democratic process. “We support the right of the Pakistani people to participate fully in the election of their representatives and their ability to fulfil their aspirations for a peaceful, prosperous and democratic nation,” he told the daily press briefing.
“More broadly, the United States looks forward to witnessing timely, transparent, free, and fair elections on May 11,” Ventrell said when asked whether Washington was concerned about spike in election-related violence.
These elections, the spokesman noted, “will mark an important democratic transition, a historic development of which the people of Pakistan can be very proud.”
“So we do not support any particular political party or any individual candidate, and we look forward to engaging the next democratically-elected government of Pakistan ,” he added.
Questioned about former president Pervez Musharraf, who is facing a string of charges in courts, the spokesman replied, “We haven’t taken a position on Musharraf’s return to Pakistan .”
Asked whether the atmosphere is conducive enough to have a free and fair elections and for people to go out without any fear and vote, the spokesman urged people to exercise their democratic right.
“We condemn the violence surrounding the elections. We do continue to urge Pakistanis to get out and vote and express their free will so that democracy can prevail and the people’s voice can be heard. And so we’re concerned about the violence but we urge the electoral process to continue.”
Agencies add: Expressing concern over the continuing buildup of nuclear weapons in South Asia, the US has asked India and Pakistan to restrain their nuclear and missile programmes and play a positive role in the global non-proliferation community. "The United States remains deeply concerned by the dangers posed by the continuing buildup of nuclear weapons and their delivery systems in South Asia," Assistant Secretary of State for International Security and Nonproliferation Thomas Countryman said in his address to the 2015 Review Conference of the States Parties to the Treaty on the Nonproliferation of Nuclear Weapons in Geneva.
"Consistent with our shared vision of a world without nuclear weapons, the United States has repeatedly called on India and Pakistan to restrain their nuclear and missile programmes; end the production of fissile material for use in nuclear weapons; and support the commencement of negotiations in the Conference on Disarmament of a Fissile Material Cutoff Treaty," he said.
"In that regard, it is with concern and deep disappointment that we note Pakistan 's reluctance to support the start of such negotiations," the US official said.
"We would welcome meaningful trust and confidence-building between these nuclear-armed states; we must find ways to reduce regional tensions and diminish the risk that nuclear weapons could be used, either intentionally or accidentally, in a crisis," he said.
The United States, he said, continues to encourage both India and Pakistan to play a positive role in the global non-proliferation community and take steps to prevent proliferation, including bringing their strategic trade controls in line with the guidelines of the multilateral supplier regimes. "We support , in a phased manner, India's goal of joining the four multilateral export control regimes," he said, adding the US remains cognizant of its non-proliferation commitments and objectives when considering how to conduct its bilateral relations with any country.
"Our activities with both India and Pakistan continue to be consistent with our NPT (Nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty) obligations and with our commitment as members of the Nuclear Suppliers Group," Countryman said.