=> ISLAMABAD: The European Union Election Observation
ISLAMABAD: The European Union Election Observation Mission (EU EOM) has reached its full strength by deploying 31 short term observers (STO) on Wednesday, which brings the total number of the EU election observers to 112.
EU Chief Observer Michael Gahler said that after the deployment of STOs, the mission would be able to cover more polling stations over a larger area. “This helps us to ensure more consistent election observation,” Gahler said, adding the observers would stay in the field beyond the election day to observe consolidation of results.
The STOs, he pointed out, were from 20 European Union countries as well as Norway and Canada. The STOs will be deployed for eight days in the North West Frontier Province, Punjab, Balochistan and Sindh as well as the Federal Capital. The EU election observers have been in Pakistan since December 8, 2007.
AFP adds: The European Union on Wednesday expressed concerns about Pakistan’s general elections, urging authorities to improve arrangements for the next week’s polls and free political detainees. The call came as the EU observer mission in the troubled nation reached its full strength ahead of Monday’s elections, the run-up to which has been marred by violence and opposition allegations of rigging.
An EU statement said that while it welcomed President Musharraf’s commitment to hold free and fair elections, it “has concerns about a number of issues relating to the conduct of the elections.”
Pakistani authorities should issue and enforce instructions for detailed results to be displayed at all polling stations immediately after polling is completed, the statement said. It also urged the authorities to deal with complaints and appeals in a “timely, effective and transparent manner” and to provide an independent means of redress.
The EU also renewed a call for the 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.”
Source: The News