Various citizen observer initiatives contributed in different ways to a sense of scrutiny, the importance of the process (not just the outcome), and the need for electoral developments. These included: the Aurat Foundation (with Gender Concerns International), the Free and Fair Elections Network (FAFEN), the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP), the Pakistan Bar Council, the South Asia Free Media Association (SAFMA), and the Special Talent Exchange Programme (STEP). FAFEN, the Aurat Foundation, the HRCP and STEP all committed to professional standards as established in the Declaration of Global Principles for Non-Partisan Election Observation and Monitoring by Citizen Organisations.
FAFEN, a network of 42 organisations, undertook long-term observation during 2013 General Elections. FAFEN’s methodological approach placed emphasis on constructive engagement whereby they informed state authorities of shortcomings observed, to give opportunity for correction. FAFEN reported that more than 4,000 FAFEN requests for corrective action were generally positively taken up. FAFEN developed an IT infrastructure for reporting by observers, including use of qualitative and quantitative indicators, and reporting on polling results.
The Aurat Foundation’s 60 observers monitored throughout the country, focusing on women’s participation, female candidates, recruitment of female polling staff and other gender specific aspects of the election campaign. The HRCP carried out detailed observation in 57 NA constituencies before and on election day, including a focus on the participation of minorities.
In 2013 General Elections, the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) reported that 42,922 domestic observers were accredited. Most of the organizations which monitored the elections are signatories of the Declaration of Global Principles for Non-Partisan Election Observation and Monitoring by Citizen Organizations.
ECP took positive steps to develop and publish a Code of Conduct for Observers and allow domestic and international observation to take place during 2013 Elections. However, election laws in Pakistan currently do not include provisions outlining the rights and responsibilities of observers. The lack of legal guarantees and clear procedures led to unequal access during the electoral process, delays in accreditation and operational challenges for observation initiatives.
Final Report Pakistan General Elections 11 May 2013, European Union Election Observation Mission, July 2013, http://www.eueom.eu/files/dmfile/eu-eom-pakistan-2013-final-report_en.pdf.
Final Report: The 2013 National and Provincial Assembly Elections in Pakistan, NDI and ANFREL, 2013,
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