Islamabad - British High Commissioner Adam Thomson has expressed the hope that violence would not derail elections in Pakistan, saying the credible and acceptable elections on May 11 were of tremendous importance for UK-Pakistan relations.

In his press briefing to announce 25 members of the United Kingdom election observers mission for Pakistan here at his residence on Wednesday, Thomason said the UK was not expecting perfect elections but looking for credible elections acceptable to the ordinary citizens of Pakistan. The high commissioner condemned election related violence and supported the politicians, besides welcoming steps being taken by the caretaker government to ensure credible elections.

“Technically these elections will be the best Pakistan ever had,” he said while answering a question saying the British government does not favour any particular political party or person in Pakistan. “The United Kingdom firmly believes that democratic continuity and consolidation are not only vital for Pakistan’s own well-being but are also the key to ever-stronger and deeper relations between our two countries,” he added. He also welcomed the extension political process to Federally Administrated Tribal Areas (FATA), declaring it as first step ahead.

He said that the mission would observe Pakistan’s general elections on 11 May.  Consisting of 25 observers, it will be one of the largest international observation teams and will be deployed throughout Pakistan. “International observers are a common feature in elections throughout the world, including in the UK. Observers play a central role in increasing voter confidence, deterring electoral fraud and observing the credibility of an election. All UK election observers will adhere to Pakistani law and will comply with the code of conduct for observers issued by the Election Commission of Pakistan,” he added. He noted that the UK Election Observation Mission was in addition to both the UK’s support for the EU Election Observation Mission and our part-funding of the Commonwealth’s own election observers.

Thomson maintained, “We are committed to supporting Pakistan to develop its democracy. Credible elections that are acceptable to the people of Pakistan are the key to achieving our shared vision of a prosperous and stable Pakistan. Elections in 2013 will mark the first democratic transfer of power from one civilian government to another in Pakistan’s history. They are the clearest opportunity Pakistan has to consolidate and deepen its democracy.”

He said that to complement the EU, the UK Mission would observe the electoral process including the work of the election administration, campaigning activities, the conduct of the media, the process of voting and counting, and the announcement of the results.