It is important to note that the US has sought to make it clear that it does not “favor” anyone for political office in Pakistan. “We do not take a position – a position on candidates for political office in Pakistan or any other country,” a US State Department official has been quoted as saying.
However, this remark does not necessarily mean that the US has come clean cent percent about the upcoming elections in the country. The country is less than three months from its general election date.
Alignment or realignment of political forces is now the order of the day ahead of the polls for some obvious reasons. Politicians are trying to persuade people to vote for their respective parties.
In other words, election campaigns are heating up with political leaders galvanizing their cadres and invoking sentiment about some harsh realities and challenges, including the current state of economy, which is still in dire straits despite an International Monetary Fund (IMF) bailout.
However, the lack of clarity about establishment’s approach to a beleaguered Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) is still the major cause of confusion with regard to the upcoming general elections.
Therefore, no wonder then that a wave of uncertainty still stalks the country’s political landscape despite the announcement of a firm and final date for general election by a seemingly controversial Election Commission of Pakistan.
In my view, the establishment’s ambiguities in relation to PTI, which is now required to hold intra-party polls within 20 days in order to retain its election symbol (bat), would certainly form the favorite subject of innumerable speculations.
PTI’s grievance that it is still not being provided a level playing field in terms of opportunities and freedom to reach out to people to vote for it, therefore, merits serious consideration.
Needless to say, for elections to express the will of the people, they must be transparent, free and fair. The caretaker setup in the country, in particular, therefore, must be impartial and not show political bias.
Copyright Business Recorder, 2023