ISLAMABAD – Like other foreign countries, the United Kingdom is supporting the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) and would provide 41,000 ballot boxes in a bid to increase number of polling stations enabling more people to vote in remote areas.“The UK is supporting the ECP in their electoral preparations through a three year programme focused on sustainable capacity building based on international best practice”, a British High Commission spokesperson said on Wednesday.The spokesperson said that it includes the training of election staff, helping refine the electoral dispute resolution mechanism, enabling ECP to updating their electoral operations system and supporting its voter education strategy.Likewise, the United States through the US Agency for International Development (USAID) is currently providing indirect support to Pakistan’s elections, just as it does in many parts of the world.This non-partisan support includes issuing grants to local organizations that encourage voter participation, particularly in groups who traditionally have the lowest turnout, for example, women. Other grants are targeted at peaceful elections practices such as providing two-way communication platforms for citizens to discuss the election process and even complaint reporting mechanisms such as helplines and social media tools. “We have also funded training for election observation and for polling officials,” acting spokesperson of the US Embassy said.He said that the US supports democratically elected civilian government in Pakistan going forward. “We do not support any particular Pakistani political party and we do not support any individual Pakistani politician,” he added.He said the United States looks forward to timely, free, and fair elections that will result in the first civilian democratic transition in Pakistan’s history. Also, the government of Japan decided to extend a grant of 183 million Japanese Yen (approximately US$ 2 million) to Pakistan through the UNDP to support the electoral process in Pakistan.The grant will fund polling staff training, development of elections results management, and voter education and public outreach. Meanwhile, in anticipation of the general elections in Pakistan, a briefing was organized at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to inform all diplomatic missions in Islamabad regarding the policy and procedure of the Government of Pakistan concerning foreign election observers.The briefing was given by the senior representatives of the Election Commission of Pakistan, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ministry of Interior and Ministry of Information & Broadcasting.The foreign diplomats were informed that the government of Pakistan was committed to facilitate free, fair and transparent elections. The government of Pakistan would welcome foreign election observers who wish to observe the transparent conduct of elections, after completion of due formalities.The diplomats were assured that the Government would take all steps within its means to facilitate the visiting foreign election observers during their stay in Pakistan.The European Union has offered to send observers to Pakistan’s elections due to be held in May, in a bid to ensure a “peaceful, credible” vote that will be “acceptable” to all.