Announce results or face consequences, ECP tells officials
ISLAMABAD: (Web Desk) The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) has ordered election officials to announce results in the next half hour or face consequences, the election body says in a post on social media platform X.
The ECP has received the results from 9,000 polling stations with another 81,000 to go, said the ECP spokesperson.
By around this time in 2018, the Election Commission had explained why there was a delay in announcing the results of the vote counts. It said then it was due to the transmission system coming under pressure. This time, we haven’t heard from the Election Commission yet on why things are taking longer than expected.
The conduct of these polls have already drawn significant criticism. Imran Khan’s centrist Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) isn’t officially banned, but many top party leaders and supporters have been jailed or pushed underground. Khan has been in prison since last August, while PTI has lost the right to use its cricket bat symbol on ballot papers. Still, the former cricket captain remains the nation’s most popular politician and many of his allies are running as independent candidates. A Gallup poll conducted late last year found that 70% of Pakistanis believed that elections would not be honest. It’s hardly a ringing endorsement of the process.
The revolving door of political leadership — where the baton is passed from powerful family to populist leader, and only with the approval of the military — has never served the country well. Pakistan’s citizens must be despairing: Not only have they grown weary of the failings of dynastic politics, but they have been struggling with the prolonged cost-of-living crisis. And as my colleague Mihir Sharma has written, if Sharif does win, whatever government he forms will be hobbled from the start by accusations that its mandate was, in part a gift from the military.
It must be demoralizing to be a young voter in Pakistan. They see the same tired, old family names on the ballot paper — candidates unashamed to put themselves forward for election despite two years of political and economic chaos.
Nawaz Sharif, who is widely expected to win this contest, has already served as prime minister three times. Bilawal Bhutto Zardari is a scion of the Bhutto-Zardari dynasty. The person most popular with the nation’s vast population of under 30s — former prime minister and cricket star Imran Khan — is banned from running and is currently in jail, after falling out with the military.
Let’s look at some numbers associated with the election. There are almost 129 million registered voters, and some 175 registered political parties. Remember, Pakistan has a huge population of more than 240 million people.