EU mission to release initial report on Friday

Observer group had no presence in Balochistan, former FATA areas

Arsalan Altaf July 26, 2018

ISLAMABAD: The European Union Election Observation Mission (EUEOM) would release its preliminary report over the conduct of elections in Islamabad on July 27th (Friday), said chief observer Michael Gahler.

Moreover, a final report along with recommendations would be released by the end of September.

Speaking to the media outside the polling station on Wednesday, Gahler said reports had started coming from across the country and they were processing them.

Gahler, who is a member of EU Parliament from Germany, visited four polling stations in various areas of Islamabad.

He said personally he had not come across any major anomaly in the federal capital but said it would be too early for the mission to comment on the conduct of the elections.

“We are a bit handicapped as we were almost a month late on the ground, but we are taking note of what’s in the media [during the pre-poll process],” Gahler stressed.

“We are processing the data that have come in. Our observers are in 32 per cent of the total constituencies. We are getting reports from our colleagues. It’s a good sample and we will get a diverse view,” he said.

Gahler, who also observed the 2008 and 2013 general elections from the EU, said they had given 50 recommendations to the government after 2013 elections. He said that 36 of their recommendations were completely or partially addressed.

The EU mission head further said the security situation had improved in the country compared to previous elections.

He also did not comment on the deployment of army troops at polling stations saying “they assess elections in the context of every country’s specific requirements”.

The EU elections observation mission comprised 60 observers from the EU, assisted by 60 local observers.

With a total of 120 observers, the mission was observing polling in 87 constituencies.

By 3pm, the EU observers had visited a total of 300 polling stations in Punjab, Islamabad, Sindh and Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa. The mission had no presence in Balochistan and erstwhile Federally Administered Tribal Areas (Fata).

Meanwhile, the mission chief condemned the Quetta attack that occurred in the morning which reportedly killed at least 30 people.

In its statement, it said, “This is a deplorable and cowardly attack on a day when voters across Pakistan should be casting their ballots in a peaceful environment, without fear or hindrance.”

Violence must not undermine the elections and the democratic process. Our thoughts are with the victims and their families, and the people of Pakistan, he added.




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