Major Western nations have issued warnings to Pakistan regarding the potential consequences of postponing the parliamentary elections beyond their scheduled date. These repercussions could entail a deterioration in diplomatic relations.
According to diplomats, both the United States and the European Union are closely monitoring the situation in Pakistan concerning the upcoming elections. Elections are deemed essential for the proper functioning of a democracy, a principle these countries consistently uphold and advocate for.
Concerns have arisen in Western capitals over the possibility that Pakistan’s current caretaker government might extend its tenure beyond the legally permitted timeframe. When legislative assemblies are dissolved, elections are mandated to take place within 90 days. However, the PDM government managed to secure the acceptance of new census data by the Council of Common Interests (CCI).
In light of this development, the Election Commission has formally delineated new constituencies and asserted its legal obligation to do so before the upcoming elections. Nevertheless, this process is expected to take approximately four months, at which point elections could be held.
Diplomatic sources have indicated that a modest delay of a few months might be tolerated due to the complexities of constituency formation and other technical issues. However, if the elections are postponed beyond February of the following year, the consequences for Pakistan could be severe. A diplomatic source has cautioned that a postponement beyond February would make it extremely challenging to maintain the same level of relations with Pakistan as before.
It is believed that if the elections are delayed, Western countries, known for their strong commitment to democratic principles, may reconsider their cooperation with Pakistan. This could also negatively impact Pakistan’s engagement with financial institutions led by the United States, including the International Monetary Fund (IMF). Western nations not only advocate for timely elections but also emphasize the importance of ensuring a fair and equitable playing field for all political parties.
Another diplomatic source, while discussing media censorship and crackdowns on certain political parties, stated, “This is an issue we are closely monitoring.” This message has been consistently conveyed in diplomatic meetings. Furthermore, the Election Commission has recently clarified that it has no intention of delaying the elections once the delimitation process is completed.