No evidence of Pak military's election rigging plans: EU official
Islamabad, Aug. 30 (ANI): The European Union (EU) has said it has found no evidence that Pakistan's powerful security establishment is planning to manipulate the next general elections in the country.
Michael Gahler, who headed the EU Observer Mission in the 2008 elections, gave Pakistan a clean chit at the conclusion of his two-day visit to the country. Gahler, who is also a member of the European Parliament, met President Asif Ali Zardari, the chief election commissioner, leaders from the ruling and opposition parties and civil society representatives to assess preparations for the upcoming elections.
"The military is currently busy in the defence of the country. I don't see that the current set-up has the intention or will to manipulate the election results through secret services," The Express Tribune quoted Gahler, as saying.
He also said there was no indication that the military feels threatened by the current government or the next political setup.
Gahler maintained that significant progress was made through constitutional amendments, the ratification of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and new initiatives of the Election Commission of Pakistan.
Gahler lauded the cross-party consensus reached on the appointment of new CEC Fakhruddin G Ebrahim that "brings the institution outside the political contest and furthers its independence".
"The Election Commission has managed to make progress in developing reliable voters' lists as compared to the 2008 elections," he added.
However, he pointed out that despite progress, "Continuous updates of the voters' list remains a serious challenge," he said. It is believed that an average 50,000 people in Pakistan reach the age of 18 daily, making them eligible to cast vote. (ANI)
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