Pakistan’s upcoming election: A tale of a broken parliament, broken economy and a broken country

Ill-democracy is rooted in the political system of Pakistan. After emerging on the world map, Pakistan was under martial law for several decades.

Ill-democracy is rooted in the political system of Pakistan. After emerging on the world map, Pakistan was under martial law for several decades. The legacy of the British empire is still fresh in the system, making it rotten. Seeking a security umbrella from Western powers after gaining independence due to the fear of India which is six times larger than Pakistan, led to neglect of the economy and democratic institutions. Generals always declared martial law, citing that Pakistan was facing its “Nazuk Mor’. Will this ever end? Enduring the rivalry with India, terrorism, and ethnic conflicts, Pakistan has always been on the verge of catastrophe.

We witnessed the debacle of East Pakistan, our half-body paralyzed when East Pakistan separated from us. Both political and military leaders were responsible, but no one owns this and we’ve learned nothing from the history. After the debacle of East Pakistan, we faced the Afghan war, that was not our war but still, we engaged in that war and till today we faced the consequences. The social fabric of our society was destroyed completely.

There is a saying that we can change our friends but we can’t change our neighbors. Now Taliban is again on our next door, insurgency after the withdrawal of the USA from Afghanistan increased. Karachi and Peshawar attacks again increased our insecurities and our own economic and political instability made it difficult for us to crush the heads of TTP.

Political instability affects the fate of the country. No Prime Minister has completed their tenure due to the lack of separation of powers, and this trend extended with the ousting of Imran Khan. The judiciary and military continuously interfere in parliamentary matters, leading to greater instability in politics.

In April 2022, Khan was ousted from the PM’s office after that Pakistan faced a series of catastrophic events. From human rights violations to attacks on military facilities, the country’s system shattered completely. Pakistan’s journalists faced many difficulties. The death of Arshad Shareef in Kenya, the abduction of Imran Riaz, and the experience of many other journalists have raised serious questions about human rights violations. Furthermore, Pakistan’s economy facing a crisis, the inflation rate is escalating, and the system is drowning in debt.

Khan is in jail, facing many allegations from corruption to attacks on several military facilities but he is denying them and constantly asserting that these cases are bogus. Several other parties’ leaders have quit the party or politics. The whole party has been crumble.

Elections are going to be held on February 8, 2024, but the Election Commission of Pakistan has decided, to take away the electoral symbol ‘BAT’ from PTI. ECP has accused that the intra-party election was not free and fair. Taking away an electoral symbol has been a setback for PTI. The largest party with a large number of supporters in Pakistan or diaspora criticizing the decision of the ECP.

The decision of the ECP is raising questions about a free and fair election, some believe that it will be the most unfree election in the history of Pakistan. There would be turmoil if the line between institutions and the people of Pakistan further broadened. The zero-sum game between institutions and political parties is ongoing.

A free and fair election is necessary for political stability. The South Asian country will crumble if ECP doesn’t hold the election free and fair. All parties have an equal right to take part in elections and campaign freely. The positive side of democracy is that it allows everyone to express their opinion and have the freedom to exercise their will. The Atlantic system guarantees freedom to every individual. Pakistan needs strong democratic institutions, political stability, and economic harmony.

Mahnoor Fatima
Mahnoor Fatima
The author is an International Relations student at the National University of Modern Languages, Rawalpindi, Pakistan. She tweets @MahnoorFAwan