Pakistan is in a state of severe political unrest as former Prime Minister Imran Khan, who was ousted in April through a no-confidence vote in Parliament, has kept political temperatures high with massive public rallies and protests, demanding immediate and early general elections in the country.
The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) has started preparations for the next general elections, directing its officials to prepare the lists of polling staff, stations and complete procedures to conduct the polls.
As per sources, the poll body has also decided to train the election staff and make then versed with modern lines in relation to the general elections.
The ECP’s decision to speed up the process comes at a time when the incumbent Shehbaz Sharif government and his coalition partners, have clearly and repeatedly announced that the elections will be held after completion of its tenure next year.
However, voices within the coalition, including Pakistan People Party (PPP), have recommended the early polls.
On the other hand, Khan has been staging massive public gatherings in different parts of the country, calling on the government and the ECP to announce early elections, stating that he would never accept the current government as it came into power through a regime change conspiracy led by the US and implemented through his political opponents to oust his administration.
The sources further revealed that ECP is looking towards holding the general election in October , which many believe, would be a win-win situation for the former premier as he stands as the most popular leader among the masses.
As per sources in the ECP, the process of delimitation of the constituencies had been completed.
The ECP had invited public objections and suggestions regarding the delimitation and had issued a final list of 266 constituencies of National Assembly and 593 constituencies of the four provincial Assemblies.
On the other hand, the coalition government is focused on getting Khan disqualified through different cases including Foreign Funding case, Tosha Khana case, anti-establishment social media campaign case and on charges of corruption.
The government is faced with a major political challenge by Khan as he continues to gather massive crowds of his supporters in public gatherings.
His political popularity has gone sky high as his narrative of regime change has been received very well by the public.
While the current government and its coalition partners have rejected Khan’s demand of early elections and said that elections in the country will be held after completion of its tenure, the ECP’s steps to complete all procedures for elections at a fast pace and the intent to hold early polls by October, certainly raises the question on Shehbaz Sharif’s government time in power.