WASHINGTON - A US State Department spokesman has condemned incidents of violence against political leaders and candidates for Pakistan's upcoming elections, saying Washington hoped for a peaceful transition of power.

"It’s important that violence such as this not prevent the Pakistani people from achieving their aspirations for a peaceful, prosperous and democratic nation," Spokesman Patrict Ventrell said, reacting to attacks against political leaders, including Tuesday’s militant bombing on an ANP rally in Peshawar that claimed 16 lives. "(W)e continue to look forward to timely, free and fair elections with a peaceful transition of power," he said, adding: "And as we note, this historic election marks the first civilian government to complete its term in Pakistan’s history, thus leading into elections to a new civilian government.”

Asked about disqualification of former president Pervez Musharraf from parliamentary elections, the spokesman said the United States respects Pakistan’s constitutional procedures but has no position on the issue.

 “In terms of Mr Musharraf, we respect Pakistan’s constitutional and legal procedures and refer you to the Government of Pakistan on the status of his candidacy. So we don’t take a position one way or another.”

On the US sending any election observers to Pakistan, the spokesman said the United States plans to participate along with the European Union in election observation efforts.

The United States supports a fair and transparent election process and has committed aid as well through USAID nonpartisan support to the tune of $6.5 million.

Meanwhile, US Secretary of State John Kerry has expressed condolences over the loss of lives in a powerful earthquake along Pakistan-Iran border, saying Washington stands ready to offer assistance.  “The United States sends our deepest condolences for those lost in the earthquake in southeastern Iran and western Pakistan,” Kerry said in a statement released by the State Department.

The earthquake on Tuesday shattered houses and property in Pakistan’s Balochistan province along the Iran border, killing and injuring dozens of people. The governments and local officials in the two countries worked to cope with the massive quake that shook cities across the region in the Gulf and India.

“Our thoughts are with the families of those who were killed, those who were injured, and with those communities that have suffered damage to homes and property. We stand ready to offer assistance in this difficult time,” Kerry added.