Pakistan’s Elections Will Once Again be Won by The Establishment

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Elections in a democracy are fought on the basis of ideas but in Pakistan elections have simply been about the military-intelligence establishment seeking a democratic figleaf for the world so that it can continue with its policies.

The elections in February 2024 will be no different from those held earlier. If they were, then we would know by now what our political parties fighting for in the upcoming general elections? What are their plans? What promises are they willing to make to their constituents, the vast majority of whom are expecting significant improvement in their social and economic conditions post-Feb 8?

Yet, three weeks before polling day, we still do not know.

The major parties — the PML-N and the PPP — have avoided providing any details about how they plan to conduct their governments. The PPP has issued a to-do list but it has very little details. The PML-N has yet to release its manifesto.

The parties know the country’s challenges, whether economic or security or diplomatic.

For example, Pakistan’s economic troubles are for all to see, and the long-term solutions are well-known by all parties. Similarly, improving relations with all neighbors is critical. And finally, Pakistan’s security challenges need in-depth focus.

According to an editorial in Dawn, “the parties are greatly underestimating the burden they will receive if they come to power. Considering the plethora of challenges being faced by the country, navigating the troubled waters Pakistan is in will not be an easy task. Whichever party goes on to form the next government will face steep challenges during a period of painful social and economic adjustment.”

Hence, “it would have been helpful for voters, observers and commentators to have reference to some document against which they could judge each party’s suitability to govern at such a critical juncture in the country’s history. Unfortunately, the bigger parties have chosen the ad hoc approach: get power first, decide what to do with it later.”

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Author: Muhammad Butt