ISLAMABAD - The European Union Election Observation Mission Pakistan is keen to see that will of the people is duly reflected in 2013 elections as result of the changes incorporated in the 18th Constitutional Amendment.

Ms Hannah Theresa Roberts, Deputy Chief of the EU Election Observation Mission stated this during an exclusive interview with TheNation here on Thursday. Ms Roberts who had observed Pakistan’s 2002 and 2008 elections as part of the EU observers mission and is currently visiting Pakistan to observe 2013 elections conceded that security remains the major challenge to observe the elections in Fata as well as in Balochistan.

“It does not mean that EU mission comprising 110 members including observers from Canada, Switzerland and Norway will leave these regions unobserved,“ she said, adding our mission would be meeting people from these areas instead of observing election on the ground.

The Deputy Chief of EU Election Observation Mission was of the view that dedicated experts would be working on different aspects of 2013 elections in Pakistan. “We are very pleased to see the historic democratic transition taking place in Pakistan with one civilian government passing to another”, Hannah Theresa Roberts said, adding, that EU is committed to a democratic Pakistan and keen to support democracy.

She said EU would continue its technical support to Pakistan to improve election processes in the country, arguing that the election was just one part of democracy. She was glad to note that Pakistan has ratified the international convention on human rights as was recommended by EU mission that observed Pakistan’s 2002 elections.

She also noted with satisfaction that the government also implemented another important recommendation pertaining to appointments in the Election Commission of Pakistan.

Asked how does she compare the conditions in Pakistan’s 2002 and 2008 elections that were held under a military regime, she said, “we know circumstances were different in 2008 when former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto and Chairperson of a major political party was assassinated”. However, she said she was very encouraged by the steps Pakistan has taken to improve the election processes as compared to the previous elections held in 2002 and 2008.

Another important area the EU visiting mission would be focusing on in the elections would be the political role and participation of women and other marginalised groups in 2013 elections, she added.

“We would be keen to observe women taking part in the election as voters as well as candidates and measures government has taken to facilitate them in the election process”, she said. Asked how does the visiting EU observers mission look at the steps taken by the government to discourage corruption-tainted candidates, she said the mission is not authorised to look into areas other than its mandate of monitoring the elections.