The recent parliamentary elections in Pakistan were marred by violence and uncertainty. Prior to the elections, there were terrorist attacks that resulted in over 40 deaths, and two candidates were shot. Observers noted that the uncertainty surrounding the election results was particularly high, with slow vote counting attributed to poor internet connections and information hoarding by authorities. Despite these challenges, both the Pakistan Muslim League and PTI party claimed victory in the elections.
As Pakistan prepares for its new government, it faces significant challenges. These include political instability, economic instability, and a population heavily impacted by poverty and inflation. Pakistan’s foreign exchange reserves have dwindled, and its currency has lost over 50% of its value. To address these issues, the government must negotiate with the IMF for a new payment program and take steps to reduce expenses while also addressing climate change-related disasters.
Pakistan’s geopolitical significance as a neighbor to India, Afghanistan, Iran, and China further complicates its situation. While China has invested in infrastructure projects in Pakistan, neighboring countries are also unstable and present security and political challenges. India benefits from Pakistan’s instability while Afghanistan and Iran pose unpredictable threats. Additionally, Pakistan is vulnerable to climate change-related disasters.
Despite these challenges, about 128 million people turned out to vote in the recent elections held in Pakistan with approximately half of them being under 35 years old. Representatives for the 266-seat parliament were chosen amidst the uncertainties facing the country; however, it remains unclear how this pathway will lead to stability and progress for Pakistan’s future development goals