Pakistan schedules parliamentary elections for January 2024
The country's election authority has announced a date nearly three months later than initially intended. Ex-PM Imran Khan is unlikely to compete, given a corruption conviction & other investigations
Pakistan's parliamentary elections will be held next January, the country's election authority announced on Thursday, 21 September, delaying the vote that was initially tabled for November.
The Election Commission of Pakistan said the elections are scheduled for the last week of January. A final list of new constituencies will be ready and published by 30 November, the commission added.
What is the significance of the vote?
Pakistan is currently being run by a caretaker government, under the leadership of interim Prime Minister Anwaar-ul-Haq Kakar.
He took over in August with the approval of Shehbaz Sharif, who took power in April 2022 following the controversial ouster of popular ex-Prime Minister Imran Khan in a no-confidence vote in parliament.
In Pakistan, it is customary for a caretaker administration to be appointed for the election period. Parliament was officially dissolved in August.
Pakistan's political turbulence
Pakistan has been in the grips of considerable political turbulence since Khan was removed from power. He has since been sentenced to three years' jail on graft charges and disqualified for five years from standing for office.
However, the Islamabad High Court later suspended Khan's prison sentence, yet he remained in jail as he was also facing other charges he made public the contents of a confidential cable sent by Pakistan's ambassador to the United States.
Authorities have been taking vigorous action to suppress Khan's Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) party in recent months, among other things by detaining thousands of his supporters and officials.
It was not immediately clear whether the high court's order would enable Khan to run in general elections, after his corruption conviction was suspended. However, his PTI party is likely to remain a potent rival to Sharif's ruling Pakistan Muslim League party.
Pakistan has also been in a state of economic turmoil in recent years, with rampant corruption, the coronavirus pandemic, inflation and a strong US dollar, and natural disasters all putting its economy under severe strain.
Published: 22 Sep 2023, 12:17 PM