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Δευτέρα, 4 Μαρτίου, 2024

Pakistan-Concerns remain over political uncertainty, economic crisis and surge in cases of violence and terror attacks across the country

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Irrespective of which party comes to power, the economic prospects remain gloomy for Islamabad which just made it to securing a bailout from the International Monetary Fund (IMF).

Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaaf (PTI) founder Imran Khan, who is considered one of the most popular leaders in the country is incarcerated in Adiala jail on multiple charges.

The cricketer-turned-politician has been disqualified from contesting the polls and has been sentenced to 10 years in the cypher case, 14 years in the Toshakhana case and seven years in the ‘un-Islamic’ marriage case. In another setback for the party, the Pakistan Supreme Court upheld the Election Commission of Pakistan’s decision to take away the party’s iconic ‘bat’ symbol.

However, Khan has maintained that all the cases against him are “politically motivated” and has vowed that his party PTI will spring a ‘surprise’ on February 8, Dawn reported.

Imran Khan in a video message posted on his official X handle, urged his supporters to come out for voting in huge numbers.

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“Elections are tomorrow. I want you to come out and bring out as many people you know. Because you will change the fate of yourself as well as that of your children through these elections,” Khan said.

Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) supremo Nawaz Sharif, who is considered a frontrunner by many is seeking a historic fourth term in office.

He has made a strong political comeback after four years of political exile in London after being sentenced to prison on corruption charges. After returning to Pakistan last October, most of his convictions were overturned in the courts paving the way for him to run in the elections.

Amid rising tensions and crises gripping the country, Nawaz Sharif aims to articulate his vision for addressing the multifaceted challenges confronting Pakistan.

Sharif has also vowed to establish “good relations” with India and said that he does not seek to take any “revenge”.

“We want an independent and comprehensive foreign policy. We want to deal world with grace and equality. We want to make Pakistan an economic power by establishing friendly relations with neighbouring states. Pakistan can’t be developed by fighting or clashing with others. I believe in development not in revenge,” he said while addressing a political rally last October.

In the election manifesto, PML-N has pledged to ensure youth representation in national politics through parliament, and provincial and local governments. PML-N has also committed to combat the impacts of climate change and a “zero-tolerance policy” towards terrorism. In the manifesto, the party mentioned combatting violence against minorities, modernising agriculture and making women independent.

PML-N urged its supporters to vote for Nawaz Sharif, claiming that Pakistan witnessed a “golden era” under PML-N tenure from 2013-18.

“The years from 2013 to 2018 marked a golden era for Pakistan. Let’s continue the journey of progress and prosperity. Vote wisely! VOTE SHER,” PML-N posted on Wednesday.

Sharif’s main challenger is Bilawal Bhutto Zardari (35), the Chairman of the Pakistan People’s Party (PPP). Bilawal, the son of slain PM Benazir Bhutto, has sought a term in the name of the young face as compared to an old veteran Sharif.

“I do not want four but one chance. If you give me a chance, I will change the fate of the country and solve all the problems [being faced by the country],” Bilawal took a jibe at PML-N supremo during a January rally, reported Geo News.

PPP in its election manifesto, has promised to double the real incomes of wage earners by ensuring growth, investments and job creation as a real-time priority. The manifesto mainly focuses on dealing with poverty and providing facilities to the working and lower class and outlines healthcare facilities, education, food security and women’s empowerment.

On the other hand, former Pakistan Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto Zardari said that PPP is better at managing the economy.

“Everyone agrees increasing exports is the only way out for Pakistan from our economic crisis. Every time PMLN has been in control of finance exports have decreased. The last time PPP was incharge, exports increased the most despite a global recession. PPP is better at managing the economy – fact!” Bilawal said in his post.

Notably, PML-N and PPP were part of the Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM) alliance which helmed power after the ouster of Imran Khan in April 2022. But, in the run-up to polls, both parties have been at loggerheads.

Meanwhile, political violence has spiked ahead of the voting. Two blasts in separate locations in the southwestern province of Balochistan on Wednesday — a region plagued by decades of insurgency — killed at least 30 people and injured 40 others.

The caretaker government in Pakistan under PM Anwaar ul Haq Kakar has struggled to cope with the country’s economic dysfunction, amid mounting debt and inflation.

This means the upcoming government will have a heavy task at hand in managing a crisis-stricken economy, whose IMF bailout package is set to run out in March.


Recently, a World Bank report stated that Pakistan’s economic development is limited to the elite which resulted in the country lagging behind its fellow countries in the wake of the economic crisis in Pakistan, Pakistan vernacular media reported.

World Bank Country Director for Pakistan, Najy Benhassine, noted that Pakistan’s economic model has become “ineffective” and said that poverty has started to increase again, the significant reduction in poverty in the past is resurfacing, the sentiment is growing towards changing the policy and that economic development in Pakistan is not sustainable.

The polls, which are already delayed comes amid mounting challenges — economic uncertainty and frequent militant attacks to climate catastrophes that are putting millions at risk. This sets the stage for a difficult road to recovery for whoever wins in a nation where no democratically elected prime minister has ever completed a full term in office, as reported by CNN.

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