Economic Crisis and Security Threats Loom Over Pakistan

Some political parties also have highlighted the security challenge as the basis on why polls should not be held on 8th February 2024…reports Asian Lite News

Pakistan is heading into a delayed election day at a time when the country is faced with major challenges in terms of security, terrorism, economy and political transition process.

With Imran Khan and his party out of contention, it is Bilawal Bhutto’s PPP (Pakistan People’s Party) and Nawaz Sharif’s PML-N (Pakistan Muslim League – Nawaz) fighting it out to claim victory. But the big question is… are they ready to address the dominating issues with responsibility?

The situation in Pakistan poses a serious challenge and a daunting task ahead for any party, which takes control after the polls. One of the most challenging issues that dominate the crisis is the persistent economic and financial meltdown the country has been struggling to manage.

“Pakistan has severe and serious issues in terms of its economic stability and financial roadmap. The country is under the strict control of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) that dictates every step and decision of the policy. The towering rise in inflation has damaged the lives of the people in unimaginable ways. And despite the fact that election day is round the corner, rise in fuel prices, energy tariffs and other things continue to rise. This is because the government has zero control over the IMF terms,” said Javed Hasan, an economist.

Talking about concerns over the elections being flawed and questions being raised over the transparency of the polls, Javed said that free and fair elections should serve as beacons of hope for political stability, paving the way for improving the investment climate and sparking economic revival.

He said that the transformational potential of democratic governance is immense.

“Conversely, flawed elections fundamentally undermine democratic governance and prospects of economic prosperity. The repercussions of electoral malpractice reverberate across society, weakening electoral institutions and impeding public participation, bringing the nation close to a precipice with limited prospects of an economic turnaround,” Javed said.

The other major challenge glaring for the next government is the surge in terrorism related incidents, posing a serious threat to the security and even elections. Pakistan has seen a major increase in terror attacks in the past, which seem to have now been extended to targeting of the election process, political parties and even the candidates.

Some political parties also have highlighted the security challenge as the basis on why polls should not be held on 8th February 2024. However, the military establishment and the judiciary has made it clear that polls would be held, raising the stakes of pre-poll, poll day and post-poll days as extremely vulnerable to terror attacks and bloodshed.

The third most important issue that dominates the political discourse is the uncertainty among the masses, who fail to see any new dimension or positive outcome of the polls as they see the process as selection and not election.

The ouster of Imran Khan from the election race, taking away the election symbol of his political party, the ongoing virtual ban on PTI public gatherings and corner meetings and arrests of PTI workers and candidates is one of the prime reasons for the prevailing uncertainty.

Most of the PTI supporters believe that fear is being spread by the military establishment to ensure they get their selection process for the next government completed.

The prevailing notion that the upcoming elections would be flawed and would not necessarily reflect the peoples’ choice through votes, is expected to have a direct impact on the overall handling and overview of the bigger and more challenging issues of economy and security for the government moving forward.

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