=> ISLAMABAD, Feb 13: The European Union has renewed
ISLAMABAD, Feb 13: The European Union has renewed its call for immediate release of political detainees, including judges and lawyers, “as an essential step in restoring confidence in the independence of the judiciary, rule of law and democratic process”.
This would be an important step in creating an environment conducive to free and fair elections, a statement released by the French Embassy in Islamabad on behalf of the EU said.
It expressed concern over a number of issues relating to the conduct of elections and urged the authorities to take steps in the remaining days to improve the conditions in which the elections were being held, including preventing local government officials from misusing state machinery.
Â“The transparency of the electoral process will be essential to restoring public confidence and ultimate progress towards national reconciliation. This can be promoted through an open and consultative election administration, the strict neutrality of caretaker governments at national and provincial levels, and freedom for the media to cover all aspects of the election process,” the statement said.
The EU welcomed assurances given by the government that all counting and tabulation processes would be open to scrutiny by candidates, their agents and observers.
“However, in order to ensure transparency of the results process, it is vital that the authorities issue and enforce instructions to display detailed results in polling stations, immediately after counting is complete, and to publicly display a detailed breakdown of polling station results at the constituency level as soon as the tabulation process is complete,” it added.
A further positive measure will be to swiftly post the detailed polling station results on internet.