Nov 21, 2018

A Long Way to Free and Fair: The 2018 Pakistan General Elections

A Long Way to Free and Fair: The 2018 Pakistan General Elections

21 November 2018


European Parliament, Brussels

Room A5G305

Click here to register for the event.

On 21 November 2018, the Unrepresented Nations and Peoples Organization (UNPO) and MEP Julie Ward (S&D) will hold a round-table titled A Long Way to Free and Fair: The 2018 Pakistan General Elections, at the European Parliament in Brussels. Bringing together representatives of political parties in Pakistan, human rights advocates and Members of the European Parliament,  the round-table will allow for constructive dialogue on the democratic challenges during the last elections, particularly regarding the situation faced by minority communities.  

For the last three years, the European Union has sent an Election Observation Mission (EOM) to various cities in Pakistan in order to ensure the protection and promotion of democratic values. As noted by the Head of the Mission, MEP Michael Gahler (EPP), the 2018 Elections saw discontent regarding the electoral process and results. Hindrances included institutionalised racism against ethinic minorities which materialized into indifference of minority opinion; the prevalence of terrorist Islamist organisation members in political parties; heightened tensions; instability; growing sectarianism in the political sphere; terrorism; and violence. Since then, post-election debate has pointed out to a number of additional impediments included media censorship and self-censorship, rejection of thousands of votes in a number of constituencies (including five percent of votes in Balochistan), postponed election results, malfunctioning electronic ballot machine readers and, in some instances, vote rigging.

Against this backdrop, the round-table seeks to shed light on the many ways in which minority communities, women and disabled voters face institutionalized discrimination against. Moreover, MEPs and interested parties will discuss the elections' implications with regards to Pakistan's GSP+ status and other international mechanisms to which it is a signatory. Finally, the round-table hopes to offer a platform to discuss constructive approaches to ensure that Pakistan protects democratic principles and address issues of concern, such as the obvious prevalence of growing sectarianism and violence, as well as discriminatory actions against specific ethno-religious groups.