‘Int’l election observers to be provided foolproof security’

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Union Election Election Observation Mission arrives in Pakistan

Mohammad Arshad

Islamabad

The European Union Election Observation Mission (EU EOM) for the July 25th general elections was officially launched by Chief Observer, Michael Gahler, a Member of the European Parliament from Germany. ‘It is a great privilege to have been given this opportunity to lead once again the EU Election Observation Mission to Pakistan, ‘said Gahler at a press conference here. ‘The elections on 25 July mark an important stage in Pakistan’s democratic development, and I very much hope that our presence will contribute to a transparent electoral process.’
Gahler explained that the mandate of the EU EOM is to observe all aspects of the electoral process and to assess the extent to which the elections are in compliance with the laws of Pakistan, as well as with international and regional commitments for democratic elections to which Pakistan is a signatory. The mission is currently made up of a core team of 10 election analysts based in Islamabad. Sixty long-term observers (LTOs) arrive over the next few days and will be deployed across the country in early July.
‘When the long-term observers arrive in their areas of observation, they will start to meet with election officials, candidates and representatives of civil society. They will report their observations back to the core team in Islamabad, and these will contribute to the mission’s informed and impartial assessment of the electoral process,’ explained Gahler. The EU EOM will also be joined by a delegation of seven Members of the European Parliament, as well as diplomats from European embassies resident in Pakistan. At full strength, the mission will comprise up to 100 observers.
The European Union deployed an EOM to observe the elections after a mission was welcomed by the Election Commission of Pakistan. The EOM is independent in its findings and conclusions. EU observers adhere to a strict code of conduct for international election observation that requires they maintain strict neutrality and impartiality in the course of their work and do not interfere in the electoral process. Shortly after election day, the mission will issue a preliminary statement. The mission will remain in Pakistan until September. A more comprehensive final report, including recommendations for future electoral processes, will be published approximately two months later. The EU deployed election observation missions to Pakistan in 2002, 2008 and 2013, with the last two being led by Gahler.
Meanwhile, Caretaker Minister for Interior, Muhammad Azam Khan on Thursday said the international election observers would be provided fool-proof security during their stay in Pakistan. Effective measures have been adopted to ensure free, fair and transparent elections, scheduled to be held on July 25, he said while talking to Chief Observer, the European Union Election Observation Mission, Michael Hahler, who called on the Minister here. EU Ambassador to Pakistan, Jean Francois was also present during the meeting. The Minister said law and order situation in Pakistan has improved and the security of polling stations would also be increased. The EU’s Chief Observers appreciated efforts of interim government for conducting elections.

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