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People of Pakistan have made a choice and it is time to respect their verdict: Media Featured

  11 February 2024

Islamabad, Feb 9  The people of Pakistan have made a choice, and it is time to respect their verdict and uphold it, the mainstream media commented on Friday as they predicted that the outcome of the controversy-ridden polls will not provide any closure for the cash-strapped country's political crisis.

"Crisis and instability will likely continue to plague the nation," the Dawn newspaper said in a stinging editorial, a day after millions cast their ballot in the hope of having a stable government that can address their woes.

Vote counting in Pakistan’s general election has been hit by unexpected delays. There had been no final result as of early Friday evening, more than 24 hours after polls closed.

From repeatedly delaying the elections on one pretext or the other to fail to protect the legitimacy of its last act, it betrayed its mandate by organising an exercise that will be remembered for all the wrong reasons, the newspaper commented.

"It is difficult not to be disappointed: given the number of times the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) hid behind the Constitution’s ‘free and fair’ condition to justify putting them off ‘till it was ready’, one would have imagined the exercise, whenever it was eventually held, would be largely irreproachable," it said.

It acknowledged that the blame does not lie with the ECP alone.

"The caretaker government and the entire machinery of the state are equally culpable in robbing it of its sanctity. Their actions worsened political polarisation, and they did not know when to stop," it said.

As a result, the exercise was doomed to controversy well before it began. It already seems clear that it will not provide any closure for the country’s political crisis. Crisis and instability will likely continue to plague the nation, with dissent kept in check through the use of fear tactics. It is a shame that such a momentous opportunity has been so carelessly lost," the newspaper commented.

In its editorial, The Express Tribune newspaper said the February 8 elections will be remembered as an exception in Pakistan’s history.

The day, nonetheless, belonged to jailed former prime minister Imran Khan's Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaaf-backed Independent candidates, as they were seen leading in most of the early results, according to the editorial.

 

It noted that the election was held at the height of political instability, a nosediving economy, and a simmering security situation. Moreover, harassment, victimisation, and institutional intimidation along with a breach of constitutional dictum went swinging all around.

"But the fact that the people of Pakistan have made a choice, and have voted for parliamentary democracy must come as a soothing consolation. Time to respect their verdict and uphold it," it underlined.

Another editorial noted that Pakistan, whose economy is worth around USD 350 billion, faces a serious debt repayment crisis. The country is obligated to repay USD 77 billion over the next three years.

"Election 2024 had not seemed a possibility right till the end, delayed as they were with every possible hurdle thrown their way. In that sense, yesterday was a momentous occasion -- regardless of the surrounding circumstances," The News International's Editorial Board commented.

 

It also criticised the government for shutting off mobile services across the country on Election Day without any prior intimation.

"In an age where almost everything is connected, and people rely on technology to assist them in day-to-day activities, the suspension of mobile and internet services became a sad reminder that Pakistan’s internal political issues will forever remain a deterrence to the country’s attempts towards growth and prosperity," the newspaper commented.

 

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