Pakistan: (By Fatimah Hassan, Pakistan Press Foundation) Pakistan is one of the countries where the profession of journalism is dangerous because t
ISLAMABAD: October 26, 2015. (PCP) The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) has agreed to allow Free and Fair Election Network (FAFEN) on the basis of central undertaking that it will be responsible for the conduct and security of all its observers to be deployed for observation of the Local Government elections in Punjab and Sindh. The decision was taken in a meeting between the ECP team, comprising Additional Secretary, Election Commission of Pakistan, Fida Muhammad and Director General Public Relations, Iftikhar Raja and FAFEN team, including Head of Programs Muddassir Rizvi and Senior Manager Yasser Javed. Both the teams exchanged their points of view on the need of security clearance of all observers on individual basis and agreed that it was not possible in a short time. The ECP team acknowledged the importance of observation and its commitment to electoral transparency. It was in the interest of electoral transparency that the ECP team gave a manageable option to FAFEN that can ensure the accreditation of its observers for the upcoming Local Government elections. “FAFEN will now provide an undertaking to the ECP taking all responsibility for the conduct of its observers as well as their security. We will furnish the undertaking shortly,” said a FAFEN spokesperson. FAFEN appreciates the promptness on part of ECP to resolve the issue and acknowledged the ECP’s resolve to open up the electoral processes to public scrutiny in collaboration with all election stakeholders. “Our effort is to strengthen the hands of election administration in ensuring an election that is fair, honest, just and in line with the law. FAFEN also acknowledges the support provided to it by the political parties, including PPP, PML-N, PTI PML-Q and MQM, which unanimously raised concerns at the condition of security clearance of all observers. Such acceptance of independent observation shows the resolve of political parties to improve the quality of elections. The recent statement by Federal Information Minister Pervez Rashid is particularly important as it also indicates at the quality of electoral reforms that are being finalized by the parliamentary committee on electoral reforms.
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