The upcoming elections in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and the National Assembly by-polls in Pakistan pose a significant challenge to the country. One of the main concerns is the threat of terrorism, which cannot be ruled out, according to the Inspector General Police (IGP), Moazzam Jah Ansari.
The police force has been targeted repeatedly, with 494 attacks in 2022 and 46 attacks just in the first five weeks of 2023, resulting in the death of over 200 police officers. Due to the shortage of police personnel, the army and Frontier Corps may be needed to maintain security during the elections.
The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) is in touch with the Ministries of Defence and Interior to discuss the deployment of the army and Frontier Corps. The Chief Election Commissioner (CEC), Sikandar Sultan Raja, has emphasized the importance of conducting transparent elections and called for impartial officers to be appointed during the electoral process. The Chief Secretary of KPK has assured the CEC that impartial officers will be appointed in all districts.
Aside from the threat of terrorism, there have been allegations of manipulation of results, as seen in the case filed by the Jamaat-e-Islami regarding the recent local government elections in Karachi and the allegations of rigging made by PTI Sindh President Ali Zaidi. It is crucial for the ECP to address these allegations and ensure that the elections are transparent and free from any form of manipulation.
The country is also facing a severe financial crisis, which makes holding separate elections for the provincial and National Assemblies difficult. The Minister for Railways, Khawaja Saad Rafique, has stressed the importance of holding general elections across the country despite the financial situation and has called for unity and seriousness in participating in the elections.
it is essential for all stakeholders to work together to ensure the security and transparency of the upcoming elections, which are vital for the future of Pakistan. The ECP has recognized the challenges facing the elections and is taking necessary measures, including deploying the army and Frontier Corps and appointing impartial officers. However, the threat of terrorism, allegations of manipulation, and the financial crisis make this a difficult task.