COG congratulates Pakistanis for patience, determination throughout electoral process
- Group calls on citizens to have patience amid finalisation of results.
- Shutdown of internet, cellular services delayed Form 45, it says.
- Many polling stations located above ground floor, says COG.
Commenting on Pakistan’s general elections, the Commonwealth Observer Group (COG) on Saturday called for candidates to be magnanimous in victory, and gracious in defeat.
In an interim statement on the February 8 polls, the Commonwealth Group congratulated Pakistanis for their patience and determination throughout the electoral process. “Notwithstanding the challenges noted, citizens turned out to exercise their right to vote on the election day,” it said.
The group commended all polling staff, political parties, candidates, their agents, and the security agencies for their respective roles during this electoral process.
The COG called on citizens to have patience amid finalisation of results and hoped that the process would be concluded effectively and would reflect the masses’ will.
“While the results process is being finalised, I call on all citizens to continue to exercise patience and restraint. It is our hope that the process will be concluded effectively and that it will reflect the will of the people. I speak from experience in calling for candidates to be magnanimous in victory, and gracious in defeat. We call on all those with grievances to address disputes through prescribed election dispute resolution mechanisms,” it said.
The observers said elections were a defining moment in every democracy, and each election offered an opportunity to take forward the positive gains made in the previous cycle. “We once again commend the efforts made to build on the improved legal framework from previous elections. We encourage these efforts to continue, and reaffirm the Commonwealth’s continuing commitment to being part of Pakistan’s post-election journey,” they said.
On delay in reception of Form 45 by the ECP, the group observed that the forms were due to be sent via the mobile phone application, but the shutdown of internet and mobile coverage compelled presiding officers to rely solely on manual transmission of the forms. “We received reports that this adversely impacted the processing of results. We will reflect on this further in our final report,” it said.
The COG noted that some polling stations had concrete ramps for persons with disabilities (PWDs), but at many other polling stations ramps and other means of access were absent. “We also noted a number of polling stations that were located above the ground floor,” it said.