Chief of Europeon Union Election Observer Mission, Michael Gahler on Thursday called on President Asif Ali Zardari here at Bilawal House and presented the final report about the General Elections held in May 2013; prepared by EU Election Observer Mission.He was accompanied by EU Ambassador to Pakistan Lars-Gunnar Wigemark, Deputy Chief Observer Ms. Hannah Roberts and First Secretary EOM, Quentin Weiler. Spokesperson to the President Senator Farhatullah Babar, Secretary to the President Ms. Nasreen Haq and other officials were also present during the meeting.Michael Gahler congratulated the President for overseeing smooth transition of government from one democracy to another which was witnessed for the first time in the country.
He thanked the President and the Government of Pakistan for inviting the Mission to become part of the process and also expressed his appreciation for the cooperation and assistance that the Mission received during the course of its work from the Governments, Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP), the concerned Ministries and Departments, political parties, civil society organisations and others involved with the process.
The President appreciated the professionalism and the Mission’s active involvement with the observation and monitoring of the electoral process and its continued support to further strengthening democracy and democratic institutions in Pakistan.
Spokesperson to the President Senator Farhatullah Babar said that the President also remarked that some political parties including the Pakistan People’s Party had serious reservations about some aspects of the elections and its management but had accepted the election results for the sake of democratic continuity. The Spokesperson quoted the President as also saying that as a result of these misgivings a number of political parties and candidates were demanding thumb verification of ballot papers in a number of constituencies. Acceptance of the election results despite reservations showed political maturity and wisdom of the political parties, he said.
The President noted the Mission’s observation that a strong democratic commitment was demonstrated during the recent elections by the state authorities, civil society, political parties and the voters and said that he was personally very pleased with the smooth transition of power from one democracy to another democracy.
He expressed the hope that this smooth transition would lay the basis of such transitions in the future as well. The President said that the participation of the people in the electoral process demonstrated that the ethos of Pakistani people was democratic.
The President said that the observations of the EU Mission about the recent elections, highlighting the impacts of various positive developments while simultaneously identifying some of the shortcomings in overall procedures and certain loopholes would help the concerned to further fine tune the system and to take necessary remedial measures.
The Report, the President said, would help democracy and democratic forces to build on the gains of the past and to take further steps as to make the process even more credible in the future.
Discussing various positive measures taken for strengthening the Parliament the President said that the credit for it belonged to the previous parliament, former parliamentarians and the political forces to have achieved significant milestones, mostly with consensus.
He expressed the hope that the concerned state institutions would take into account the recommendations of the EU Election Mission and the process of reformatory measures, both at policy as well as implementation level, would continue so as to make the electoral process more transparent, objective and truly democratic and representative.
Michael Gahler thanked the President for meeting and assured continued support to the democracy in Pakistan.