Commonwealth observers deploy to polling stations across Pakistan, as voting begins 

08 February 2024
Press release
Commonwealth observers on polling day of the 2024 Pakistan elections

The polls have opened in Pakistan’s general elections, with the Commonwealth observing every step of the electoral process.

Voters will elect members of the 16th National Assembly and four provincial legislatures. 
The 336 members of the National Assembly consist of 266 general seats, elected by first-past-the-post voting in single-member constituencies. The remaining seats are reserved for women and religious minorities. These seats are elected by proportional representation, based on the number of general seats won by each party. 
More than 128 million people have registered to vote. Forty-four per cent are between the ages of 18 and 35 - the highest percentage of young people in Pakistan's electoral history. 
At 8 am, the polls opened to voters, with male and female voters lining up separately. 
The Chair of the Commonwealth Observer Group (COG), former President of Nigeria, Dr Goodluck Ebele Jonathan, yesterday issued a statement condemning terror attacks which have taken place in the run-up to the election. In the statement, he expressed sympathy for the victims and their families and commended officials for their resolve in ensuring the elections go ahead.  

Pakistan elections 2024
A citizen casts their vote in the Pakistan's general elections

Today, Dr Jonathan was at the Islamabad Model School for Girls F-6/1 polling station to observe pre-poll preparations and was present when the first votes were cast. 
He said:  

“The Commonwealth has consistently observed elections in Pakistan since 1993, in various capacities, and this is the 11th occasion we have done so. We also had a team here in 2018. So, we understand the complexities of this election, and appreciate the preparations that have been made for the people of Pakistan to vote. 
“We are committed to supporting the country on its democratic path beyond these elections. So, we call on all stakeholders to remain calm and peaceful throughout the process, and we wish the people of Pakistan well as they cast their ballots.” 

For this election, the two major parties fielding candidates are Pakistan Muslim League (N) (PML-N), and Pakistan People’s Party (PPP). Candidates affiliated with Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI), the largest party in the 2018 elections, are standing as independents, following a Supreme Court ruling which disallowed the use of their party symbol in the run-up to the elections. 
Meanwhile, Commonwealth observers have been deployed to observe the vote in various parts of the country. They were present when voting began in the morning and will observe the process until the polls close at 5 pm. And, as is customary, they will then watch the counting of votes and the tabulation of results.  
The 13-member COG team received briefings from government agencies, political parties, the media, civil society groups, international agencies, and representatives from the diplomatic corps to gain a comprehensive understanding of the situation in the country. They will issue findings in their preliminary report on the 10th of February.

Media contact

  • Charmaine Wright  Head of Media Relations, Communications Division, Commonwealth Secretariat

  • +44 20 7747 6242  |  E-mail