As authorities in Pakistan suspended mobile services across the country on the polling day, Commonwealth Observers’ Group head Dr Goodluck Ebele Jonathan on Thursday said casting votes was more important than internet services.
Pakistan on Thursday suspended cellular and internet services in several parts of the country, including major cities like Islamabad, Karachi, Rawalpindi, Lahore, Peshawar and others, as more than 128 million people eligible to vote in the general elections voted to choose a new government.
Former Nigerian president Jonathan, who is leading a 25-member COG delegation comprising journalists and experts, made the remarks as foreign observers visited different polling stations across Pakistan to inspect the ongoing electoral process, GEO News reported.
The COG delegation visited the polling stations of NA-47 in Islamabad and expressed satisfaction over the polling process besides declaring it fair and transparent.
Jonathan, speaking to the media, said: “Before the invention of the internet, we were holding polls and voting is more important than the internet.”
“Voting process does not require the internet, however, the suspension of internet services would only create trouble while posting the poll results,” he added.
An interior ministry spokesperson confirmed that a temporary suspension of mobile phone services had been decided across Pakistan, citing the loss of lives in recent terrorist attacks.
The spokesperson said it was necessary to take special measures to cope with the security threats and maintenance of law and order.
The group of eminent experts from across the Commonwealth arrived in Pakistan at the invitation of the Election Commission of Pakistan to inspect the polling process on February 8.
The COG’s mandate, as set out in the Revised Commonwealth Guidelines for the Conduct of Election Observation in Member Countries, is to observe and evaluate all aspects of the pre-election environment, polling day activities and the post-election period, according to an official statement issued by the global association of 56-member state on February 4.
On election day, the Commonwealth Observer Group will monitor the opening, voting, closing, counting and results management processes, before issuing an interim statement on its preliminary findings on February 10, it said.
Meanwhile, showing optimism on the polling process, 3 out of 4 Pakistanis said they will accept the election results, according to a survey of Ipsos Pakistan Pulse.
Only seven per cent are not likely to accept the results and 17 per cent will remain unsure, the survey titled ‘Acceptability of 2024 General Elections Results’ said.
It also said Sindh and Islamabad residents were least likely to accept the poll results and asserted that as many as 67 per cent of voters of jailed former prime minister Imran Khan’s Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) party would accept the result.
Only nine per cent of PTI supporters will reject the results, said the survey, adding that the rest will remain unsure about it.
As many as 87 per cent of voters of the Pakistan Muslim League Nawaz (PML-N) will ac¬-cept the result and only four per cent will reject it.
Only one per cent of Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) voters will reject the election result and 94 per cent will accept it, the survey suggested.
The rest of PPP supporters remained uncertain, it showed.