HomeTrendingBig pitfalls for Pakistan ahead of November elections

Big pitfalls for Pakistan ahead of November elections

Following the dissolution of the lower house of parliament, a general election will be presided over by Pakistan’s caretaker administration, led by interim Prime Minister Anwaar-ul-Haq Kakar.

The Pakistan elections are scheduled to take place in 90 days, by November, but as the country struggles with constitutional, political, and economic difficulties, doubt surrounds the exact date.

Until a general election is held, which will allow the victor to achieve a legislative majority and choose a new prime minister, Kakar and his cabinet will serve as the government.

Here are some pertinent queries on the current scenario and how the upcoming few months are anticipated to develop.

 

Will Pakistan elections get postponed?

Elections must be held by Kakar’s interim administration within 90 days. However, new electoral boundaries must be created by the Election Commission because the departing administration authorised a new census in its closing hours.

According to a former commission official, it may take six months or longer to redistrict hundreds of federal and provincial constituencies in a nation with 241 million citizens.

The Election Commission must declare how long the process will take, which may also involve candidates suing over the newly formed constituencies, and then, depending on that, provide an election date.

 

Role of Pakistan’s caretaker government

Caretakers typically only have the authority to supervise elections, but Kakar’s setup will be the most powerful in Pakistani history because to recent law that gives it the authority to make economic policy choices.

The action is allegedly intended to maintain the nine-month $3 billion bailout agreed in June from the International Monetary Fund (IMF). The caretaker tenure includes at least one of the three programme reviews, and if elections are postponed, more.

All political parties have previously agreed on the IMF’s course of action.

 

Role of Pakistan Army

The Pakistan Army still plays a significant role in the background. It has held direct power over Pakistan for more than three decades of the nation’s 76-year history and possesses unparalleled political clout.

The Balochistan Awami Party, Kakar’s party, is often seen as having ties to the military.

Political observers worry that if the caretaker setup lasts longer than the time allowed by the constitution, the military will have more time to establish authority.

 

Imran Khan out of Pakistan elections

Imran Khan, the primary opposition figure, is now unable to run in this election.

Following his conviction on graft-related charges, Khan is currently serving a three-year sentence and has been disqualified for five years from running in elections.

He was elected prime minister in 2018 after his party, the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI), won the election. He held the position until 2022, when a no-confidence vote forced his resignation.

 

These are the main contenders in the Pakistan elections

The Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP), Shehbaz Sharif’s Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N), and Imran Khan’s PTI are the three front-runners for the position of prime minister.

Imran Khan’s PTI will attempt to capitalise on its supporters’ pity and rage in order to replicate its 2018 triumph despite being imprisoned and prohibited from voting. However, PTI’s future depends on a detente with the generals, which appears unlikely given the ongoing stalemate with the military.

The brother of the former prime minister and three-term prime minister Nawaz Sharif, whose PML-N was the largest partner in the previous coalition government, is attempting to return from exile. Shehbaz is still a strong candidate to take over again, despite the fact that a corruption conviction against him is still in effect.

Bilawal Bhutto Zardari, 34, the young chairman of the PPP and son of former prime minister Benazir Bhutto, is another key candidate. He made waves locally and in foreign capitals in his first government job as foreign minister in the outgoing government, and is widely seen as a future premier.

 

Challenges for Pakistan

Economic stabilisation is the top challenge with the $350 billion economy on a narrow recovery path after the IMF bailout averted a sovereign debt default. Economic reforms have already fuelled historic inflation and interest rates.

Political uncertainty is a factor after Khan’s jailing and ban. There was no violence following his arrest, unlike in May when his supporters went on the rampage, but his continued detention will raise questions over the credibility of the election.

Constitutional and legal questions are bound to come up if the elections are delayed beyond 90 days, with an active Supreme Court known to step in to interpret constitutional questions.