EU Chief Observer to visit Karachi, Lahore


ISLAMABAD : The Chief Observer of the European Union Election Observation Mission (EU EOM) to Pakistan, Michael Gahler MEP, will visit Karachi and Lahore between 18 and 20 July.

According to the statement issued on Tuesday, he will meet with district election commissioners, political parties and candidates, civil society organisations involved in the elections, as well as the media.

“During this visit, I look forward to discussing a wide range of issues with election officials, candidates and representatives of civil society, and observe preparations for the elections in Karachi and Lahore,” said Mr Gahler.

“Furthermore, teams of EU long-term observers will arrive in Karachi and Lahore, and will begin observing the election process in different constituencies of both cities. They will report their observations back to the core team in Islamabad so that an impartial assessment of the electoral process can be made.”

The mission has election observers in Punjab, Sindh, Khyber Pakthunkhwa and Islamabad. For the time being, the mission is not observing in Balochistan.

Mr Gahler will then hold further meetings with election officials and political parties in Islamabad and Rawalpindi in the final few days before polling on 25 July.

A delegation of seven Members of the European Parliament, led by Jean Lambert from the UK, will join the mission on 22 July. On election day, the EU EOM will have over 100 observers, working in teams of two, observing the voting process and the counting of results.

The mission comprises a core team of 10 analysts, who arrived in Pakistan on 24 June; 60 long-term observers; the delegation of seven Members of the European Parliament, as well as 42 diplomats from EU member state embassies, plus those of Norway, Switzerland and Canada.

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.

The mission will issue its preliminary statement on the electoral process at a press conference in Islamabad on July 27.