The ECP invites international observers and media for election monitoring

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ISLAMABAD: As part of its effort to bring “credibility” to the election process, the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) invited international observers and media on Wednesday to observe and monitor the election process in a bid to open up a process of international polling.

It is understood that the electoral body issued a two-page invitation to security officers and media to explain the process of obtaining accreditation cards and visas for international observers and media to enter the country. 

In accordance with Section 238 of the Elections Act, 2017, the ECP has sent the invitation in accordance with that section.

A tentative date for the General Election has been announced by the Election Commission, which is expected to take place in the last week of January 2024. There is an Open Door Policy at the Election Commission of Pakistan that allows any citizen and any observer from outside the country to be accredited in the election subject to the satisfaction of all the codal formalities (Section 238 of the Elections Act 2017).” maintained the ECP.

A clear statement in the law states that observers will not be allowed to participate until they have been issued an accreditation, which will be issued once all the relevant documents have been submitted and a security clearance has been granted.

According to the ECP, the visa can be obtained via the Pakistan Online Portal of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, which is operated by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. As part of their visa applications, those who wish to attend the polls will also have to submit the “accreditation application form” which can be downloaded from the website of the ECP in addition to their visa application.

According to the commission, “ECP will arrange briefings for observers in ECP Secretariat after completing codal formalities as prescribed by law,” it said. The Foreign Office and the Interior Ministry also advised them to follow their advisories.

During our assessment of the electoral process, we believe that the presence of international observers will enhance the transparency and impartiality of the process, while adding credibility to the process in general. Consequently, all necessary arrangements will be made to ensure that international observers will be able to conduct their duties effectively and independently,” the European Commission said in a statement.

During the “important event” in Pakistan’s history as a democracy, the watchdog hoped that the international observers and media would contribute a “positive and valuable output” to the national consciousness.

A no-confidence motion passed by the parliament in April 2022 resulted in the removal of Imran Khan’s government, leaving the country engulfed in political uncertainty.

Following Imran Khan’s ouster, a coalition government took charge of the country and dissolved the National Assembly on August 9, 2009.

There was a requirement that the ECP hold elections within 90 days of the premature dissolution of national and provincial assemblies, which means the elections had to be conducted by the 6th of November at the latest.

As a result of the census approval, however, the ECP argued that it was constitutionally bound to draw fresh boundaries ahead of the election since the Council of Common Interest (CCI) had approved the census, which made it impossible to hold elections within the stipulated time period.

The Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI), Pakistan People’s Party (PPP), as well as other leading political parties in the country have urged the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) to hold elections as soon as possible in order to resolve the country’s current political uncertainty.

There has also been a call for free, fair, and timely elections to take place in the country by the United States and the United Kingdom.

There was some uncertainty in September, however, until the Election Commission announced that it would hold polls in the country during the last week of January, ending the uncertainty to an extent. 

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