The Pakistan Elections of 2024 have garnered significant global attention.

Qurat ul ain Ali

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24 visa applications from the New Delhi High Commission, 25 observer visas from the UK, and eight from Russia were under consideration. Additionally, applications were received from Canada and Japan.

Over 6,000 observers and journalists have been granted accreditation cards, as per the caretaker information minister.

The Pakistan High Commission in London has issued visas to 37 British journalists, including Christina Lamb from The Times, to cover the February 8 general elections. Teams from CNN, Sky News, BBC, ITV, The Telegraph, and Channel 4 News will also cover the elections.

The Indian media team will arrive in Lahore on February 7 to cover the elections, with visas issued to 10 Indian journalists. Several Indian TV channels are set to air special broadcasts on Pakistan’s elections on February 8.

This week holds significant importance for the people of Pakistan, who have grappled with such sentiments for decades. Across the globe, national elections are underway in over 60 nations, collectively representing nearly half of the world’s population. In Pakistan, the landscape of politics often resembles a business enterprise rather than a platform for public service, with a primary focus on acquiring power, enjoying privileges, and exploiting them without restraint.

Since the ousting of Imran Khan as prime minister in 2022 due to defections within his coalition and a vote of no-confidence in parliament, Pakistan has been in a state of unease. The prevailing political framework lacks a fundamental commitment to pursuing social justice, instead serving as a means for those in power to accumulate wealth and suppress political opponents using state resources.

The current political and economic structures in Pakistan are unsustainable, having proven ineffective in the past. Given the grave challenges facing the nation, any controversy surrounding the legitimacy of elections could cause irreversible harm. Pakistan is poised to confront formidable obstacles in the years ahead, necessitating urgent and comprehensive reforms.

“At this point, there is little evidence to show that the upcoming elections will be free, fair or credible,” Munizae Jahangir, the co-chairperson of the independent Human Rights Commission of Pakistan, told a news conference in Islamabad.

In 2024, it is expected that Pakistani leaders will prioritize pragmatic solutions to longstanding structural challenges, mirroring past approaches. This inclination towards immediate remedies may deepen Pakistan’s ongoing state of indecision and uncertainty. Notably, the usual enthusiasm and anticipation surrounding a general election seem to be lacking. Pakistan aims to recalibrate its relations with both China and the United States (US), but this task is complicated by strained Sino-US ties. While China will continue to strengthen its strategic and political partnership with Pakistan, challenges persist within the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor due to Pakistan’s financial instability, which has compromised the feasibility and sustainability of Chinese investments. Engagement with the US will primarily focus on security matters. In the Middle East, Pakistan hopes for some financial support from Arab nations, but expectations of substantial investments are unlikely to materialize. In summary, 2024 is not expected to be a year of significant celebration for Pakistan.

The writer is a scholar from the National Defence University Islamabad, currently a researcher at IAPWE | International Association of Professional Writers and Editors, associated with Journalism and Media Islamabad.

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