Tuesday, October 3, 2023

Western Nations Warned Pakistan If Elections Extend Beyond February

Major Western countries have warned Pakistan that delaying the parliamentary elections beyond the scheduled time will have serious consequences for the country, possibly including a decline in relations.

According to diplomats, the US and EU are monitoring the situation in Pakistan closely as it relates to the next elections. Elections are seen as fundamental to any functioning democracy, which is something these nations have consistently defended and promoted.

Western capitals are worried that the current caretaker system in Pakistan would continue for longer than allowed. When assemblies are dissolved, elections are to be held no later than 90 days thereafter. But the PDM government had the new census findings accepted by the Council of Common Interests (CCI).

With this in mind, the Election Commission has declared the new constituencies and stated its position that it is required by law to do so before the next elections; however, this process will take four months, at which point elections may be held.

Diplomatic sources said a delay of a few months could be tolerated due to constituencies and some technical issues. However, if the elections are delayed beyond February next year, there could be dire consequences for the country.

A diplomatic source has warned that if elections are postponed past February, it will be very difficult to keep relations with Pakistan at the same level as before.

It is believed that if the elections are delayed, Western countries, which take democracy very seriously, may reconsider their cooperation with Pakistan. This may also adversely affect Pakistan’s engagement with US-led financial institutions, including the IMF. Western countries want not only elections to be held on time but also to provide a level playing field to all political parties.

Another diplomatic source, referring to the media ban and crackdown on certain political parties, said, “This is something that we are keeping a close eye on.” met and conveyed the same message. The Election Commission recently clarified that there is no intention to delay the elections after the process of delimitation is completed.

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