Islamabad: Ahead of the general elections in Pakistan on February 8, a 13-member Commonwealth observer group led by former Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan will be deployed to offer an independent and comprehensive assessment of the country’s electoral process.
The general elections in Pakistan will be held on February 8, and there are approximately 128 million eligible voters.
On election day, members of the Commonwealth Observer Group (COG) will observe and consider all aspects of the election process across Pakistan, from the opening of polling stations and the voting process to the counting of ballots and the announcement of results.
The observer team, which has been selected by Commonwealth Secretary-General Patricia Scotland, comprises multi-disciplinary experts from across the Commonwealth nations and would be chaired by former Nigerian President Jonathan.
“A 13-member Commonwealth Observer Group (COG) is due to arrive in Islamabad on February 1 and will remain in the country until the electoral process is completed. The observer group will offer an independent and comprehensive assessment of the electoral process,” a statement from the Commonwealth Secretariat Media and Public Affairs division said.
Commenting on the visit of the delegation, the Secretary-General said, “The Commonwealth is pleased to support Pakistan’s democratic journey. We look forward to peaceful and fair elections.”.
“I am grateful that former Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan has once again accepted our invitation to serve as chair of an election observer group. The team of observers will assess the conduct of the process as a whole and, where appropriate, make recommendations for the further strengthening of the electoral system,” she added.
Patricia said that she was hopeful that the recommendations would benefit the people and government of Pakistan by strengthening their electoral processes.
“The Commonwealth Secretariat would be ready to assist with this process if deemed necessary,” she said.
During their stay, the members of the observer group will be stationed throughout the country.
While in Pakistan, the members of the observer group will also meet with a wide range of interlocutors, including representatives from political parties, election officials, media stakeholders, and civil society groups.
Following the election, the group will hold a news conference and issue an interim statement with its preliminary findings.
A final report, which will include recommendations to help improve future electoral processes, will be presented to the government of Pakistan and the Election Commission.
The report will also be shared with other stakeholders.
On January 26, the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) announced the final polling scheme, saying that it would set up a total of 90,675 polling stations in the country for the election.