The US State Department issued a statement Friday criticizing the “flaws” in the process of Pakistan’s election earlier this week. The statement warned Pakistan’s election was at odds with its commitment to a “fully fair and transparent” vote.
The US largely had not discussed the Pakistani election before, and the fact that they are suddenly objecting to it comes almost immediately after the results showed a longtime critic of US policy, Imran Khan, had won the vote.
One of the most successful cricket players in Pakistan’s history, Khan’s rise to political prominence in recent years saw him established as a populist figure leading an opposition party. This has meant he’s had little to no direct contact with the US.
Khan has been a major critic of US policy in Afghanistan, and in particular the use of US drones against Pakistan’s tribal areas. He has said that, if he was in power, he would insist the US stop using drones in Pakistani airspace, and if they refused, would order the Pakistani Air Force to shoot the drones down.