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Commonwealth Observer Group encourages peaceful, credible elections in Pakistan.

ISLAMABAD: Commonwealth Observer Group Thursday urged the Pakistani citizens, particularly women and youth to participate in general election and urged all the stakeholders to play their part in ensuring peaceful and credible elections. In a statement, head of the Group and former Head of State of Nigeria, General Abdulsalami A AbuBakr said the Group would perform its role in Pakistani elections with impartiality, independence and transparency.

He said the Group would visit various areas in Pakistan to observe the electoral process. We are aware of the significance of these elections to the people of Pakistan.

Our presence here affirms the Commonwealths support to the country and its democratic processes, stated General AbuBakr. The Group, including parliamentarians, election commissioners, civil society representatives, diplomats, as well as specialists in law and human rights from Commonwealth countries across Asia, Africa, Europe and the Pacific will remain in the country tillJuly 30. The Commonwealth has a long history of observing elections in member countries and has previously deployed observer groups to Pakistan in 2002 and 2013. Acting independently, the Group will observe the process as a whole, analyzing the political background, electoral laws, security issues and campaign environment.

The Commonwealth Observers will review benchmarks such as the legal framework and environment for elections, independence and effectiveness of the Election Commission, freedom of expression and access to media, and the participation of minorities, including women and youth. Following the elections on25 July, an Interim Statement by the Group is due to be presented to the public on27 July, followed by a final report.

The Commonwealth Observer Group comprises 14 eminent persons, supported by eight members of staff including Gen (Retd) Abdulsalami Abubakar, former Head of State, Nigeria (Chair) Ms Shamima Ali, Coordinator, Fiji Womens Crisis Centre, Fiji Ms Shomy Hasan Chowdhury, Asia Representative, Commonwealth Students Association, Bangladesh Ambassador Rabiu Dagari, Retired Diplomat, Nigeria Professor Samuel Ratnajeevan Hoole, Member, Election Commission of Sri Lanka, Sri Lanka Mr Jerald Joseph, Commissioner, Human Rights Commission, Malaysia Dame Luamanuvao Winnie Laban, Former Minister for Pacific Islands Affairs, New Zealand Ms Regina Opondo, Executive Secretary, Constitutional and Reform Education Consortium, Kenya Ms Joyce Pitso, Manager of Elections Division, ACCORD Development Consulting, South Africa Dr Shahabuddin Yaqoob Quraishi, Former Chief Election Commissioner, India Judge Shamim Ahmed Qureshi, District Judge, Victoria Law Courts of Birmingham, United Kingdom Mr Mohammad Irfan Abdool Rahman, Electoral Commissioner, Mauritius Senator Linda Reynolds, Senator for Western Australia, Australia and Hanif Valley, Deputy Director, Foundation of Human Rights, South Africa.

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Publication:Pakistan Today (Lahore, Pakistan)
Geographic Code:9PAKI
Date:Jul 19, 2018
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