Lahore, Jan 16: A nine-member EU delegation that visited a few "hot constituencies" in Pakistan ahead of the February 18 polls, has said that the prevailing environment in Pakistan was not conducive for holding free and fair polls according to the international monitoring standards.
The delegation members of the European Union Election Observation Mission reportedly said this in a meeting with the Pakistan Coalition for Free, Fair and Democratic Elections (PACFREL). After visiting the areas in the country, the members of the delegation averred that they would prefer to act as observers and not as monitors in the forthcoming polls.
They said that the usual election-oriented environment seen before elections was totally missing in the country, as people in general were "silent" about the polls.
"According to the delegation, the existing environment for elections is silent. The posters and banners of various candidates on roads and in streets are the only indicator of the electoral process, otherwise the people of Pakistan are absolutely silent - quite contrary to the traditional election festivities seen before elections," the Daily Times quoted PACFREL national coordinator Sharjeel Ahmad as saying.
He said the delegation had said that they had come to Pakistan keeping in mind that they would be working as monitors, but after observing the overall situation, including law and order, they decided only to observe the elections.
Three members of the delegation, Marian Gabriel, Robert Bystricky and Carlos Albisu visited the South Asia Partnership office, but didn't interact with the media personnel present on the occasion.