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National Elections: A Wavering Ray of Hope

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Hooria Batool

The people of Pakistan having undergone a series of challenges including Covid-19 pandemic, natural calamities like heavy floods and continuous horror of earthquakes, frequently declining economy and above all the political instability have been in a state of disappointment and distress. The year 2023 came with the hope of a positive change through the national elections due in second half of the year as the 5-year tenure was going to an end. The last democratic action in the parliament proved to be unprecedented, as it was a no confidence motion in the history of Pakistan that was successful. Apart from its success this motion has been unique from many aspects e.g., many political opponents embraced one another, who, otherwise, had never dreamt of getting into an alliance against the sitting government; about 14 parties, altogether, were short of the target therefore they went for ever expensive horse-trading in the history of the country. The following 16 months was the government of the People’s Democratic Movement which made another history of failures, lawlessness, negligence and bulldozing the constitution. The objective of this government was very clear. They managed to pass dozens of bills in the parliament to bring out themselves from the hard hands of law with regards to the lawsuits, they had been facing. They removed all the obstacles on their way by virtue of power in government, including removal of NAB laws to get rid of the corruption cases against them. A big part of their objectives was to level the playground in favor of Mr. Nawaz Shareef who had been self-exiled in London for the last 4 years.

The last and the most important mission they accomplished successfully was to avoid the mid-term elections in Punjab and KPK provinces, and delay the national and provincial elections even after completion of the democratic tenure of the government. However, the people of Pakistan were constantly monitoring the situation created by the government by triggering a prolonged campaign against the ousted party, Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaaf and its chairman Mr. Imran Khan. On 13 July 2023, just 2 months ahead of the schedule Prime Minister Shahbaz Shareef announced in an interview to a group of journalists, that the tenure of PDM government was going to end on 14 August 2023, and that the elections date would be announced by the Election Commission of Pakistan by October or November 2023.

True to the announcement by PM Shahbaz Shareef the incumbent care-taker Prime Minister Anwar-ul-Haq Kakar sworn in on 14 August, 2023 at President House Islamabad. The care-taker government with her sole task of conducting national and provincial elections within the prescribed period of 90 days, as per the constitution of Pakistan. However, the pace of preparation for the elections has been quite slow, apparently, as if the mission ofdelaying the elections is still important. As per the recent press release of ECP, preparations are almost completed; including delimitation work. Objections on the delimitation are also submitted by 30th Oct, 2023 and hearing on the objections/suggestions will continue till Nov,2023; ECP said in their press release dated 27 Oct,2023.

It is widely observed that people of the entire country whether urban or rural population, are to some extent hopeful, as well asmore than 50% are suspicious about its delay for the reasons may be one or the other. The shattered trust of the people on government institutes, bureaucracy and the persons in government. On the average people have been looking to the political horizon where they get a ray of hope even it is wavering, in spite of the assurance given by concerning quarters of the government including ECP and caretaker PM himself. Contradictory to the all-previous instances of delay in elections, this time people, especially the youth being more educated and fully aware of the world and internal politics remains updated of the ongoing events and current affairs much more than in the past, ever. The intellectual level of educated youth is far ahead of the generations of past, even a layman working on daily wages is well updated to a level that predicting about the future is not difficult for him anymore. Today’s Pakistani citizens can analyze the situation created or happened into such a depth that it can be amazing for even the highly experienced planners.

By every passing hour anxiety is increasing and knowledgeable quarters are unable to gain the trust of the people. The reason behind this distrust is obviously the role of the political figures during the last two years in making the country almost a failed state. This failure is, for the first time, so clearly noticed that we found our country in a state of chaos. At all times cabinet members, PM and professional experts were unable to resolve the burning issue of economy of the state. Nothing but to wait for IMF bail package was the only hope of the political leadership. Among other factors which may affect the election schedule, one may be the cold weather ahead. This winter it is expected that the months of January and February can prove chillier than the last year. This, on the other hand can also affect the overall turnover of polls in northern areas and mountainous region of KPK and Balochistan where access routes would be blocked by snowfall and it would be hard reaching out the polling station especially for old age citizens. However, today’s youth would compensate such deficiency as the Pakistani youth is too anxious to play their active and effective role in these particular elections that is meant very much to them.

Writer is student of BS International Relations in Fatima Jinnah Women University.

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