Inconsistent policy


The year 2023 is a crucial year for decision-makers in Pakistan, particularly on matters relating to the next general elections. The year has also become equally important for the country with regard to its internal security policy as the nation is shaken by the January 30 ghastly attack at a police compound in the high security zone of the capital city of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province.
As caretaker dispensations are already in place in two provinces, the holding of general elections in the country occupies the central place in the daily discourse among the people. The discourse has shifted to the security options after militant elements struck at the heart of the provincial capital.
A number of official correspondences, debates and meetings and all the leading newspapers and journalists have been carrying articles and views on the subject of elections and security. How useful is public debate on such subjects, is a pertinent question.
Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf’s chairman Imran Khan, who was ousted from power through a vote of no confidence last year, has been making spirited efforts to bring around the authorities to call early elections in the two provinces, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Punjab, while the Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM), an alliance of as many as 14 political parties, seeks more time and economic stability to put the country back on the track to development.
There are two schools of thoughts in the country as regards the ongoing crisis; first and foremost is the lobby which holds that the country is faced with severe financial crunches, high inflation, historic low reserves, food crisis and top of that security challenges. Thus elections should be delayed with mutual consensus among the relevant bodies. Then there is the other group that of the opinion that fresh polls in the country need of the hours and considered it as penance of all evils.
KP Governor Haji Ghulam Ali in his recent letter written to the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) clearly indicates that those who possess the reins of power do not support elections and want more time on the pretext of “alarming law and order situation” in the province. Same is the case with the in the country’s most populated province of Punjab.
The political leadership seems divided over the real situation and demands broad consultation on elections and security situation.
Contrarily, PTI senior leadership in the two provinces has approached the apex court, seeking judicial intervention on the elections date.
PTI chief in Punjab and KP seeks elections as per the law, while PDM working on certain grounds to be prepared for pushing the elections backward to resettle the issues of ailing economy and fragile security situation.
At a time when the civilian leadership seems to have failed in adopting measures to check the deteriorating law and order situation, the establishment has been the most inconsistent in dealing with the militants, negating the sacrifices of thousands of countrymen.