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Pakistan’s PM meets Jonathan-led Commonwealth Observers, promises peaceful elections

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Pakistan’s PM meets Jonathan-led Commonwealth Observers, promises peaceful elections

Jonathan with Kakar

Published By: Kazeem Ugbodaga

Pakistan’s Caretaker Prime Minister Anwaar-ul-Haq Kakar has assured former President, Dr. Goodluck Jonathan and other members of the Commonwealth Observer Group (COG) that the best possible arrangements have been made to ensure peaceful and transparent conduct of the scheduled February 8 general elections, despite numerous challenges ahead of the polls.

Kakar who stated this on Tuesday while receiving Jonathan and other members the COG in the State House in Islamabad, Pakistan, stated that Pakistan is proud to honour its commitment as a Commonwealth member, stressing that the country had invited independent international observers to witness the general elections.

The Caretaker Prime Minister also stated that his administration had fulfilled its responsibilities to run the day-to-day affairs of the state and create a conducive environment ahead of the elections. He further urged the people of Pakistan to reciprocate by exercising their democratic right to vote.

Speaking earlier in his capacity as the Chairman of the Commonwealth Observers Group, Jonathan expressed appreciation for the warm reception since arriving in Islamabad. He told his host that they were in Pakistan to observe the elections in line with the Commonwealth’s guidelines for such exercise, following an invitation from the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP).

The former president noted that in conducting their duties and undertaking an assessment of the elections, the COG will be neutral, impartial, objective, and independent.

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Jonathan and other members of the group made up of experts from across the Commonwealth arrived in Pakistan last week and will be present in the country throughout the electoral process.

In the group’s arrival statement, Jonathan said: “It is my honour and privilege to have been asked by the Commonwealth Secretary-General, the Rt Hon Patricia Scotland KC, to lead the Commonwealth Observer Group to Pakistan’s General Elections 2024, and to be here in the country for this election.

“I am grateful to be joined by twelve experts selected from across the Commonwealth. They bring together a diversity of experience, in the fields of elections, law, civil society, politics, human rights, and the media, amongst others. The group’s presence reaffirms the Commonwealth’s solidarity with Pakistan and its democratic processes.”

Since their arrival, the observers have been conducting stakeholder briefings, including meeting with political parties, the police, the army, civil society groups, citizen observer and monitor groups, the media, as well as the Election Commission of Pakistan.

On Election Day, members of the COG will observe the opening, voting, closing, counting and results management processes across the country, before issuing an interim statement on its preliminary findings on 10 February 2024.

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