Pakistan is gearing up for general elections after 48 hours. Although voting is underway in nearly half the world in 2024, all eyes are on Pakistan’s elections amid various concerns. Will Nawaz Sharif become PM again? Imran Khan is in jail, with his publicity ongoing through social media and recorded messages. His scope seems limited. Another major contender is Asif Ali Zardari, whose son Bilawal Bhutto is actively campaigning. Political analysts anticipate a hybrid government in Pakistan.
Many Pakistani journalists speculate that Nawaz Sharif’s party, PML-N, could form the government under his leadership. It’s termed “hybrid” because a deal with the military has reportedly been struck even before the elections. The military has expressed its preference for investing through a civilian-led government. Hence, three main scenarios emerge:
- If Nawaz Sharif secures a majority, he could become Pakistan’s Prime Minister for the fourth time. With the military’s support, his victory is anticipated, although the chances of a majority are slim. Pakistani journalist Babar Dogar suggests that many prominent leaders are contesting as independent candidates this time, raising the likelihood of their success. If a coalition is required, Nawaz might promote his brother.
- Asif Ali Zardari could also play strategically post-elections. Imran Khan’s party leaders are contesting as independents, aiming to form a coalition government. Bilawal Bhutto has even stated that he won’t become the foreign minister if Nawaz becomes PM.
- There’s no clear symbol for Imran Khan’s party in the post-election scenario. His leaders are contesting without any party emblem.
Considering the Hindu population’s situation:
Pakistan, with a population of 240 million, is the world’s fifth-most populous country. About 130 million are expected to vote, with nearly 60% literate. Muslims comprise 96% of voters, followed by approximately 2% Hindus and 1.59% Christians. Hindus constitute 95% of Dalit voters. Hindu communities often complain about inadequate representation and ticket allocations.
Meanwhile, a new face of banned organizations led by Hafiz Saeed, under the banner of “Pakistan Marakazi Muslim League,” is emerging in the elections. Several candidates of this party have family ties with Saeed or connections to Lashkar-e-Taiba, Jamaat-ud-Dawa, or Milli Muslim League. Saeed’s son, Hafiz Talha Saeed, is also contesting from this party.
The primary issue in Pakistan’s elections is inflation. The currency is weak, and foreign reserves are depleted.