NDI mission urges Pak govt to stop security agencies’ interference in polls

November 14th, 2007 - 2:39 am ICT by admin  
The mission of the National Democratic Institute (NDI) also recommended the government to create a legal framework for all security agencies making them politically neutral.

The suggestions have been made in a nine-page report after a five-day meeting with government and electoral officials, political party leaders, civil society, media representatives and international organisations, the Daily Times reported.

Former US Senate majority leader Tom Daschle, who led the mission, told the media that the delegation received credible reports that intelligence and security organisations were trying to manipulate the electoral process by influencing local polling officials and convincing individuals not to seek their party’s nomination or to switch parties.

Pakistan could face increased civil conflict and burgeoning military influence if the elections were rigged, the mission warned in its report, adding that incidents like the October 18 Karachi blasts could increase with the approach of elections.

Daschle was quoted as saying that opposition parties and civic groups had also expressed concern about the transparency and independence of the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP).

“The mission noted with concern the government’s attempts to limit the journalists’ activities and not allowing women to vote in the recently held by-election in Bajaur Agency,” he added.

In total, the mission made 21 recommendations to the government, the EC and political parties, including that development of a formal process of regular consultations with political parties and civil society on election procedures.

Other members of the delegation included NDI Senior Associate and Director of Asia Programmes Peter Manikas from the US, former president of the National Party of New Zealand Sue Wood and NDI’s Pakistan director, Sheila Fruman. (ANI)

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