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.”
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: