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Former president of Nigeria Gen. Abdulsalami Abubakar chairs the Commonwealth Observer Group currently in Pakistan to observe elections.

Commonwealth Observer Group encourages peaceful and credible elections in Pakistan

19 July 2018

Former Head of State of Nigeria, General Abdulsalami A. Abubakar, will lead a distinguished panel of experts, to be deployed in various regions in Pakistan to observe the electoral process.

The Chair arrived in Islamabad on Wednesday 18 July, and has been joined by thirteen other members of 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. They will remain in the country until 30 July.

“We are aware of the significance of these elections to the people of Pakistan. Our presence here affirms the Commonwealth’s support to the country and its democratic processes, and we will perform our role with impartiality, independence and transparency,” stated Gen. Abubakar.

“We urge citizens, particularly women and youth, to participate in this election, and all stakeholders to play their part in ensuring peaceful and credible elections.”  

 Read the full arrival statement

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, analysing the political background, electoral laws, security issues and campaign environment. 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 on 25 July, an Interim Statement by the Group is due to be presented to the public on 27 July, followed by a final report.

The Commonwealth Observer Group comprises 14 eminent persons, supported by eight members of staff:

  • HE Gen (Retd) Abdulsalami A. Abubakar, former Head of State, Nigeria (Chair)
  • Ms Shamima Ali, Coordinator, Fiji Women’s 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
  • Mr Hanif Vally, Deputy Director, Foundation of Human Rights, South Africa

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