Pakistan: EU High Representative Issues Statement on General Elections



The European Union has released a statement regarding the general elections held in Pakistan on February 8. Acknowledging the completion of polling amid months of postponement and a tense security environment, the EU commended the Pakistani people for exercising their right to vote, despite systemic barriers faced by women and minorities.


While noting an increase in women voters compared to previous elections, the EU expressed regret over a lack of a level playing field, citing restrictions on political actors, freedom of assembly, and expression, both online and offline. Allegations of electoral interference and arrests of political activists were also highlighted.


Calling for a thorough investigation into reported irregularities and implementation of recommendations from an upcoming EU Election Expert Mission report, the EU condemned acts of violence leading up to the elections. It urged all parties to resort to peaceful means to settle differences.


Emphasizing the importance of political pluralism, democratic values, independent media, civil society, and judicial independence, the EU urged Pakistani political actors to engage in inclusive dialogue for a stable government and to uphold human rights in line with the country’s constitution and international treaties.


Pakistan was recognized as an important partner for the EU, with a commitment to working together on agreed priorities outlined in the EU-Pakistan Strategic Engagement Plan. The EU encouraged Pakistan to continue reforms in human rights, good governance, labor rights, environmental standards, and economic sectors, addressing shortcomings outlined in the November 2023 GSP+ report

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