Pakistan sets January 2024 date for long-delayed general election

Election officials count ballots after polls closed during the general election in Islamabad, Pakistan, July 25, 2018. (Photo/Reuters Archive)

Pakistan will hold delayed elections in the last week of January next year, the election commission has announced.

"The final list of constituencies will be published on November 30. After that, the elections will be held in the last week of January 2024, after a 54-day election program," it said in a statement on Thursday.

A caretaker government has been ruling Pakistan since parliament was dissolved on August 9.

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.

Test for caretaker government

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."

Economic downturn

Khan's ouster as prime minister in April last year sparked months of political drama, with a defiant campaign against the powerful military culminating in a major crackdown on his Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf party.

The country is struggling through a biting economic downturn, with business leaders crying out for authorities to bring political stability to the cash-strapped nation which has seen a record devaluation of the rupee and soaring inflation.


Source: TRT