The European Union, in response to allegations of electoral manipulation in Pakistan’s general elections, urges the pertinent authorities to conduct a thorough and prompt investigation into all reported irregularities and to enact the recommendations provided in the forthcoming EU Election Expert Mission report.
Peter Stano, lead spokesperson for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, expressed the EU’s acknowledgment of the increased participation of women voters compared to previous elections, while also expressing concern over the absence of a fair electoral environment. This lack of fairness, attributed to the inability of certain political actors to participate, restrictions on freedom of assembly and expression both online and offline, limitations on internet access, and accusations of significant interference in the electoral process including arrests of political activists, is a matter of regret for the EU.
The EU further acknowledged the completion of polling on 8th February in Pakistan, despite months of postponement and a challenging security landscape. The spokesperson emphasized the Pakistani people’s commitment to democracy and the rule of law despite obstacles faced by women and minority groups.
Pakistan an important partner
Acknowledging the difficult task of countering terrorist threats and attacks, the EU condemns all pre-election violence and urges all parties to resolve differences through peaceful and democratic means.
Emphasizing the importance of political pluralism, democratic values, independent media, civil society, judicial independence, and human rights standards, the EU encourages all political actors in Pakistan to engage in inclusive dialogue for the establishment of a stable government, respecting human rights in accordance with the Pakistani constitution and international treaties.
Pakistan is recognized as an important partner by the EU, which looks forward to continued collaboration on agreed priorities outlined in the EU-Pakistan Strategic Engagement Plan. Encouragement is given for ongoing reforms in human rights, governance, labor rights, and environmental standards, addressing issues highlighted in the November 2023 GSP+ report and advancing necessary economic reforms.