Pakistan, a country of 250 million inhabitants, amidst sheer political instability, widening inter-institutional mistrust, and extreme fiscal crunch is finding it hard to provide itself with some breathing space. It looks forward to getting a renewed start. but that seems to be a daydream considering the current political, social, and economic turmoil. This is where the 2023 general elections of Pakistan come into play.
A renewed start is only possible if a newly elected government, with a fresh pubic mandate, comes into power for the constitutional term of five years. Moreover, the public seems to be eagerly waiting for the 2023 general elections highlighting the fact that the populace would not be missing out on its chance to get its desired candidate to win the elections. Thus, the 2023 general elections carry great importance in terms of bringing a sustainable political set-up and silencing the din of inter-institutional clashes.
With a half-empty National Assembly and a non-existent opposition, every legislation seems to be tinpot and controversial. This is evidenced by the recent enactments which have not been able to garner political consensus including the Supreme Court (Practice and Procedure) Act, 2023, the Contempt of Parliament (Senate and National Assembly) Bill, and the Supreme Court (Review of Judgements and Orders) Act, 2023.
This is not a good sign for a country whose legislature has been under constant criticism for its inefficiency and ineffectiveness in the recent past. Therefore, any major legislation including institutional reforms and new laws should be avoided till the general elections. Hence, the 2023 general elections would ensure a fully occupied lower house of the Parliament which is sine qua non for the robust and smooth running of the legal, constitutional, and parliamentary affairs.
The 2023 elections also promise to bring forward a rejuvenated government spearheaded by a single party or an alliance with its specific and updated manifesto. The inability of the incumbent government to solve the IMF puzzle is a prime example in this regard. Moreover, the people of Pakistan seem to be much more politically educated and enlightened as compared to what they were in the past. It could even be said that the turnout ratio in the forthcoming elections might exceed the traditional average turnout ratio.
The latest assessment issued by the World Bank lays out an annual growth rate of 0.4% for the ongoing fiscal year for Pakistan, and as per the records of the Pakistan Bureau of Statistics, this is the fifth time that the annual growth rate of Pakistan has fallen below 1% since the country’s independence. Moreover, Pakistan failed to meet all the goals set in the federal budget 2022-2023.
One of the primary reasons for such a below-average economic performance is because of the looming political instability. It cannot be ignored that the 2023 general elections would bring forth new and young candidates for the premiership including Bilawal Bhutto Zardari. In Pakistan, 29% of the population is between the ages of 15 and 29 years, making up 64% of the total population.
Thus, it seems that the old contenders might be on on the verge of getting replaced by young and advanced minds by the vote of the youth who would want someone dynamic like them to take the reins of the country. In other words, the said general election might open up the doors for the youth to take the lead.
Looking through a broader lens, neighboring countries and the world powers would be observing and monitoring the 2023 elections in Pakistan. Pro-West sentiments have faded away and have been replaced with pro-East sentiments among the masses. With the need for a competitive atmosphere with updated manifestos and the emergence of young candidates for the premiership, the 2023 general elections have a lot to offer.
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