Pakistan National Election To Be Held End January 2024

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ISLAMABAD: Pakistan will hold delayed elections in January next year, the election commission announced on Thursday (Sep 21), as the country grapples with overlapping political, economic and security crises.

A caretaker government has been ruling Pakistan since parliament was dissolved on Aug 9, days after the country’s most popular politician, former prime minister Imran Khan, was imprisoned for graft and barred from contesting elections.

Polls were supposed to have taken place within 90 days, but the election commission said it needed more time to redraw constituencies following the latest population census.

“The final list of constituencies will be published on Nov 30. After that, the elections will be held in the last week of January 2024, after a 54-day election program,” the commission said in a statement.

One political analyst suggested the date may not be set in stone.

“The announcement of a date is a positive and significant sign, however, Pakistani politics is so unstable that one can’t predict what will happen after three months,” Hasan Askari Rizvi told AFP.

“But all the sufferings of the common people due to inflation and price hikes will have a direct bearing – provided all parties are allowed to campaign and contest elections,” he added.

Earlier this month, the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan said it was concerned about the scope for institutions to manipulate the electoral process.

“The delimitation of constituencies must also be completed quickly and efficiently and under no circumstances used as an excuse to delay the elections any further,” it said in a statement.

“Apart from ensuring that free, fair and credible elections take place, the test of the current caretaker government is to see not only whether it will protect and respect people’s right to protest peacefully, but also whether it will respond to the issues that ordinary citizens are mobilising around.”