The Chair of the Commonwealth Observer Group, former Head of State of Nigeria, General Abdulsalami A. Abubakar, called on all registered voters in Pakistan to “come out en masse” to cast their votes today in the general elections.
The Chair condemned the terror attack that took place this morning in Quetta, Balochistan Province, calling it “heinous” and expressing condolences to the families of the 31 victims.
“This attack must not undermine the democratic exercise underway in Pakistan,” he said.
“We encourage all voters – including women, minorities, youth, people with disabilities – to use their vote. Their vote is important to strengthen democracy and make sure it takes root in Pakistan.”
Around 105.95 million Pakistanis - 59.22 million men and 46.73 million women – have registered to vote today at the general elections. Of these, approximately 46 million are 18 to 35 years old.
They will elect 272 members of the National Assembly for a five-year term (2018-2023), as well as members for the legislatures of Pakistan’s four provinces – Punjab, Sindh, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) and Balochistan.
The Commonwealth Observer Group are observing elections for the National Assembly, of which 272 seats will be filled by direct voting, 60 reserved for women and 10 for scheduled minorities. Their goal is to provide an independent, impartial and public view on the integrity of the electoral process.
“We wish the people of Pakistan credible, transparent, inclusive, peaceful and democratic elections, and we remain hopeful that this noble nation will live up to the standards to which it has committed itself, both domestically and internationally,” said General Abubakar.
The Group has met with a wide range of stakeholders in the lead up to elections, including the Election Commission of Pakistan, the Minister of Foreign Affairs, various political parties, civil society organisations, members of the media, and the military.
The Group will release its interim statement on the elections on Friday, 27 July 2018, with a full report to come at a later stage.