Federal Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier issued the following statement in Berlin today (20 February) on the parliamentary elections held in Pakistan on 18 February:
"I welcome the fact that the citizens of Pakistan were given an opportunity to vote on their country's future political development. The elections are an essential step towards further consolidating democracy in Pakistan.
According to EU election observers, the elections did not go off without shortcomings. However, although there were unfortunately a number of deaths, it should be stressed that there were no major outbursts of violence.
I hope that a government which helps stabilize the country can now be formed soon. The quick release of the lawyers and judges still under house arrest would be an important contribution towards this.
It is the responsibility of the future government to build public confidence and thwart extremism through a resolute democratization process. Against this background, I welcome the decision of Pakistan's voters to reject extremist Islamist parties.
Germany and the EU will continue to support Pakistan in the fight against terrorism and on its path to democracy and the rule of law".