Cash-strapped Top sources have told CNN-News18 that Pakistan’s economic and political unrest may prevent the government from holding general elections this year.
The sources stated that the PDM-led coalition government does not support the polls, which were initially anticipated in October, since it believes it would not have a strong enough performance to showcase to the public after the regime change in April 2022.
Former president Asif Ali Zardari met last week with the leader of the Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM), Maulana Fazl-ur-Rehman, and Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif to discuss the nation’s political climate.
The top leadership has decided to not hold general elections on time, and continue the current government’s tenure for four to six months or set up an interim government at least for six months, sources added.
It has been almost two weeks since the Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) assemblies were dissolved but the provincial polls date has not been announced yet as the Election Commission has sought around Rs. 75 billion to conduct elections.
For cash-strapped Pakistan, which has no funds for fuel, food and basic salaries and where the finance ministry is running out of funds, the EC’s demand will be a herculean task. The source has thus claimed that elections can be delayed for four-six months on the grounds of financial emergency.
SIX REASONS TO NOT HOLD GENERAL ELECTIONS:
1. Establishment’s involvement and military’s political engineering
2. Political and economic instability
3. Election Commission has no funds
4. Census delayed
5. No plan for delimitation
6. Rising security threats
ECONOMIC CHALLENGE & DEFAULT THREAT
The State Bank of Pakistan (SBP)-held foreign reserves plunged to $3.7 billion dollars — their lowest in more than eight years — as the nation struggles to meet its finances amid a stalled International Monetary Fund (IMF) programme.
British publication Financial Times has also warned that Pakistan’s economy is at risk of collapse with the government’s “failure to revive” the IMF deal.
As the coalition government desperately seeks to revive the ninth Extended Fund Facility review, it has requested IMF to send a delegation for a visit scheduled from January 31 to February 9.
The Pakistan Bureau of Statistics (PBS) has delayed the launch of the country’s first-ever digital census by a month, citing “unavoidable circumstances” and “ground realities”.
The seventh population and housing census, earlier scheduled for February 1, will now begin from March 1 and continue for a month.
In October 2021, the previous government gave the go-ahead to the digital census and scheduled its launch for the same month in 2022, which was then deferred to February 2023. The PBS will have to submit the data on April 30.
The reasons for the delay are both procedural and political. In both cases, the benefit goes to the incumbent government, as a delayed census allows it to complete the remaining tenure until August this year.
The Muttahida Qaumi Movement – Pakistan (MQM-P) has threatened to quit the coalition government if the ‘delimitation demand’ is not accepted.
After raising the temperature over local government elections in Karachi and Hyderabad on the issue of “unjust delimitation” amid election boycott and threats of street protests against ‘injustice with urban Sindh’, MQM-P on Wednesday decided to put its plan of street protests on hold and give another chance to the Sindh government and the Election Commission of Pakistan to fix the flaws.
MQM-P chief Khalid Maqbool Siddiqi said: “We are developing an opinion for our narrative after which we will use our democratic right to protest. But before this, we want to give another chance to the federal government and the Election Commission so they can fix the flaws on their part.”
In response to a question, the Election Commission stated that funding and new legal modifications were required for delimitation, but regrettably, they were still being sought from the federal government. Delimitations would take at least 3 to 4 months to complete.
a matter of the a matter of the a…. at this moment at the gams ais of Since the Taliban’s rebirth, particularly as a result of strikes by the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan, Pakistan’s internal security has deteriorated (TTP).
Reports state that between 28 and 35 percent more terrorist incidents occurred in Pakistan in 2022. These were also the most militant assaults in the previous five years.