Islamabad - The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) on Tuesday issued a 16-point code of conduct for international observers and media persons ahead of the general election to be held on July 25.
According to the ECP code of conduct, the international observers will adhere to the laws and the Constitution of Pakistan and respect the authority of the ECP and its officials.
The observers will follow instructions issued from time to time by the ECP and other authorities including security officials and maintain a respectful attitude towards them.
The code asks the international observers to maintain strict political impartiality during the elections. They will not exhibit any bias or preference with regard to national authorities, political parties and candidates as well as any issue related to the process of elections.
They will also not participate or conduct any activity that may generate an impression of favouring or opposing any political party or a candidate.
The observers will have the right to ask any question and to clear any query but they will not obstruct directly or indirectly any election-related activity.
The observers will display their official identification badges, issued by the ECP at all times and will present it to the electoral officials and other authorities when requested.
The observers will ensure that their observations were impartial, objective and depict the highest standards of accuracy. According to the code of conduct, any individual observer will not make any personal comments on the election process to the media.
Observer organizations or groups will ensure that only their authorized persons give comment about the election process.
The observer organizations may share their findings, methodology and recommendations with the ECP.
The international observers intending to visit Pakistan would submit their visa well in time as per rule and not allow staying beyond the duration of the granted visa. No observer will stay in Pakistan beyond the duration of the granted visa.
The ECP has also asked the observers to comply with advisories that may be issued by the government or security agencies to ensure their safety during their stay in the country.
In case of violation of the code of conduct, the ECP reserves the right to withdraw observer accreditation of an individual observer or an observer mission. The authority to determine the violation also rests with the ECP.
In a related development, the European Union (EU) has decided to deploy 100 people as part of an Election Observation Mission after the ECP welcomed the mission.
The mission’s mandate is to observe all aspects of the electoral process and assess the extent to which the elections comply with international and regional commitments for elections as well as with national legislation.
The Chief Observer, Michael Gahler, a Member of the European Parliament from Germany, will arrive in Pakistan on June 27 and officially launch the European Union Election Observation Mission at a press conference on June 28.
ECP SEEKS TROOPS’ DEPLOYMENT
AT POLLING STATIONS
The Election Commission of Pakistan on Tuesday sent a summary to the Ministry of Defence seeking deployment of army troops outside and inside of polling stations to ensure peaceful elections and deal with any untoward incident on polling day.
An ECP press statement said that troops would be deployed at polling stations from 23rd to 26th of the next month for foolproof security.
Earlier the ECP said that troops would also be deployed at Printing Corporation of Pakistan Press Islamabad, National Printing Security Company Karachi, and Pakistan Post Foundation Islamabad during printing and dispatch of ballot papers from 27th of this month to 26th of the next month.
Meanwhile, the Election Commission has arranged postal ballot papers for disabled persons to enable them to use their right to franchise in general elections.
The Commission has asked all the persons, who have been issued National Identity Card of disabled persons by NADRA, to apply to the returning officer concerned and avail the postal ballot facility.
The last date for availing the postal ballot paper facility has been set July 5. The 2018 general elections will be held on July 25.