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In response to allegations of election rigging in Pakistan’s general elections, the European Union has urged the relevant authorities to promptly and thoroughly investigate all reported irregularities and to adhere to the recommendations outlined in the forthcoming EU Election Expert Mission report.
Peter Stano, the lead spokesperson for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, highlighted the EU’s appreciation for the increased participation of women in the electoral process compared to previous elections. However, he expressed concerns over the lack of a fair playing field, citing issues such as restrictions on political actors, limitations on freedoms of assembly and expression both online and offline, restricted internet access, and allegations of interference in the electoral process, including arrests of political activists.
The EU noted the completion of the polling on February 8 in Pakistan, acknowledging the challenges posed by a tense security environment following months of postponement and uncertainty. Despite obstacles faced by women and minority groups, the EU recognized the Pakistani people’s commitment to democracy and the rule of law by exercising their right to vote.
Acknowledging the authorities’ efforts to address serious terrorist threats and attacks, the EU condemned all acts of violence leading up to the elections. It called upon all parties and actors to utilize peaceful and democratic means to resolve differences, refraining from further violence.
Emphasizing the importance of political pluralism, democratic values, independent media, civil society vitality, judicial independence, and international human rights standards, the EU urged all political actors in Pakistan to engage in inclusive dialogue for the formation of a stable government while respecting human rights in accordance with the country’s constitution and international treaties.