While the European Union Election Observation Mission (EOM) will not be present in Balochistan to monitor the upcoming Pakistani elections, the Chief Observer Michael Gahler, Member of EP, has met with Baloch politicians in Karachi.
Below is an article published by International The News:
Gahler met with senior leaders of the BNP-M and the Pakhtunkhwa Milli Awami Party on Tuesday [23 April]. “During this trip I’ve met with a wide range of people playing an important role in this election. Given that we are not in a position to be present for long-term observation in Balochistan, I am particularly glad to have met with some of its political leaders. We will carry on following what is happening in Balochistan and other parts of Pakistan,” Gahler said.
Due to the security situation, the mission says it cannot implement its long-term comprehensive methodology in Balochistan and Fata. However, the EOM says they are actively following what is happening in these areas. This decision of the EOM has been criticised by politicians from both areas who told The News that in reality these were the areas which really needed the EU monitors, and this message has been conveyed to them.
On a visit to the Punjab and Sindh, Gahler met up with electoral authorities, caretaker government officials, political party leaders, civil society and media representatives. “Electoral violence is unfortunately a feature of these elections. Each attack on political parties and others involved in the election is an attack on the democratic process itself. We therefore hope that all state authorities and stakeholders demonstrate their commitment to the greater democratic process by standing united and taking whatever measures possible to prevent such violence,” said Gahler.
Michael Gahler and his team of 11 experts, 52 long term observers and 46 short-term observers will continue to observe the electoral process and environment until after the elections.