Leader of the Opposition in the Senate, Senator Raja Muhammad Zafar-ul-Haq has said that Pakistan appreciates the services of European Union (EU) and European Parliament for strengthening democracy and the processes associated with it in the developing countries in general and Pakistan in particular. He observed that all global powers like European Union who have internalised democracy as a right of the people need to raise a global voice for the aspiring democracies in addition to the national voices of the respective countries.
He made these remarks in a meeting with the Chief EU election observer mission and member of the European Parliament Mr. Michael Gahler here at the Parliament House on Friday. The meeting was also attended by EU Ambassador to Pakistan Mr. Jean Paul Francois, Deputy Chief Observer Ms. Damitra Ioaanou, Senator Dr. Musadiq Malik and Member National Assembly Maryam Aurangzeb.
The Pakistani side headed by Senator Raja Muhammad Zafar-ul-Haq apprised the EU observers about their concerns from the July 25 elections and said that the four glaring concerns included counting of votes in absence of polling agents, not handing over form 45 to polling agents, collapse of ECP software of results transmission and delay in report by ECP on the failures faced and complaints received. Reports and anecdotes of curtailing the media from reporting freely and pre-poll influences was also mentioned to the EU observers.
Mr. Michael Gahler observed that the EU mission as an observer mission cannot observe or come across the apparently invisible and subtle influences on the election process and could only experience the on ground administrative, procedural and technical aspects in carrying out the electoral process. He said that the EU mission gave 50 recommendations in the last election and has formulated a set of 30 recommendations for its report to be launched on Friday.
Leader of the Opposition remarked that a larger commentary on the spirit of democracy is critically needed in the country for which the help of EU is also solicited. MR. Michael Gahler said that the passage of the electoral reforms law last year was a good progress in the democratic process. He said that the EU will continue to give its support in strengthening the democratic system and process and it wants to continue its cooperation with the Election Commission of Pakistan and the Parliament.