Islamabad [Pakistan], February 7: Pakistan is gearing up for general elections scheduled for tomorrow, February 8, amidst a backdrop of concerns regarding political instability, economic turmoil, and a surge in violence and terror incidents nationwide.
Irrespective of the outcome of the elections, Islamabad faces a bleak economic outlook following its recent bailout from the International Monetary Fund (IMF).
Founder of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaaf (PTI), Imran Khan, a prominent figure in the country’s political landscape, is currently imprisoned in Adiala jail on various charges. Despite being disqualified from contesting the polls and facing lengthy sentences, Khan maintains that the cases against him are politically motivated and has promised a ‘surprise’ outcome for PTI in the elections.
In a video message shared on his official handle, Khan urged his supporters to turn out in large numbers, emphasizing the potential impact of the elections on their future and that of their children.
Meanwhile, Nawaz Sharif, leader of the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N), seeks a historic fourth term in office after staging a strong political comeback following years of exile in London due to corruption charges. Sharif aims to address Pakistan’s myriad challenges, including fostering improved relations with India, advocating for an independent foreign policy, and prioritizing economic development over retribution.
PML-N’s election manifesto pledges to enhance youth representation in politics, combat climate change, terrorism, and violence against minorities, modernize agriculture, and promote women’s empowerment.
Sharif faces competition from Bilawal Bhutto Zardari, Chairman of the Pakistan People’s Party (PPP), who, despite his youth, promises to address the country’s issues comprehensively if given the opportunity.
PPP’s manifesto focuses on economic growth, job creation, poverty alleviation, and providing essential services to marginalized communities.
However, tensions between PML-N and PPP have escalated in the lead-up to the polls, despite their prior alliance in the Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM).
Political violence has also escalated, exemplified by two deadly blasts in Balochistan, highlighting the security challenges facing the nation.
The caretaker government, led by PM Anwaar ul Haq Kakar, struggles to address Pakistan’s economic woes, exacerbated by mounting debt and inflation.
As the country grapples with these challenges, the upcoming government faces the daunting task of stabilizing the economy and addressing the needs of its citizens.
A recent World Bank report underscored the urgent need for sustainable economic policies in Pakistan, citing a resurgence in poverty and widening economic disparities.
Against this backdrop, Pakistan braces for a turbulent road ahead, with the outcome of the elections poised to shape the nation’s trajectory amidst ongoing instability and uncertainty.