Commonwealth Secretary-General Kamalesh Sharma today released the Final Report of the Commonwealth Observer Mission on the 11 May General Elections in Pakistan.
In issuing the report, Mr Sharma said that the Commonwealth Observer Mission found that despite significant security concerns and election-related violence, Pakistani voters turned out in large numbers to cast their ballot and express their will.
The Secretary-General said: “The 11 May elections, represented a significant milestone for Pakistan, as one elected civilian government handed power to another, respecting the will of the people.”
He also acknowledged the concerns raised by the Commonwealth Observer Mission around the security situation and election-related violence. He noted: “Although Pakistan is not the only country that has been faced with election-related violence, the scale and level were significant enough to limit freedom of movement and assembly in certain parts of the country. However, the determination demonstrated by ordinary citizens to express their democratic rights was commendable.”
The report offers various recommendations to help improve aspects of the electoral process. These include: the need to ensure greater inclusion and participation of women in the political and electoral process; overcoming the challenges faced by the Election Commission of Pakistan in ensuring enforcement of the campaign code of conduct; and a review of the limits on campaign spending.
Mr Sharma stressed that the Commonwealth remained ready to support Pakistan in further strengthening and consolidating its democracy.