Pakistan ahead of the 2018 elections

17-07-2018

Pakistan will hold general elections on 25 July 2018. This event deserves attention for several reasons. With around 200 million inhabitants, Pakistan has the sixth-largest population in the world. One of the world's nine nuclear powers, it is the only Muslim country among them. It is strategically located between India, China, Afghanistan and Iran. It plays a major role with regard to Afghanistan's stability and the fight against terrorism, for which it has often been accused of connivance with militant groups. Finally, it is home to the world's second-largest Muslim population. The election is set to secure the second consecutive democratic transition of power in a country marked by chronic dualism between political and military power. The event is particularly important, given the current political turmoil following the removal of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif from office. Pakistan is accused of giving support to terrorist groups. However, after the Taliban massacred 132 children at an army-run school in 2014, the authorities adopted a number of provisions to curtail terrorism. Nevertheless, the US administration, which considers Pakistan one of its key allies in the Afghanistan war, is unsatisfied with its record of fighting terrorism. The resultant US freeze on military aid to Islamabad may force the latter to switch allegiance to China and Russia, which could jeopardise Washington's efforts in Afghanistan. The China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) of infrastructure projects is an example of the already flourishing relations with Beijing. An EU election observation mission is monitoring the electoral process. Since 2014, Pakistan has benefitted from the EU's Generalised System of Preferences (GSP), which has boosted the country's exports to the EU. A new EU-Pakistan strategic engagement plan is to be signed in 2018. The European Parliament has expressed concern over the country's human rights situation on several occasions, with special reference to the persecution of religious minorities.

Pakistan will hold general elections on 25 July 2018. This event deserves attention for several reasons. With around 200 million inhabitants, Pakistan has the sixth-largest population in the world. One of the world's nine nuclear powers, it is the only Muslim country among them. It is strategically located between India, China, Afghanistan and Iran. It plays a major role with regard to Afghanistan's stability and the fight against terrorism, for which it has often been accused of connivance with militant groups. Finally, it is home to the world's second-largest Muslim population. The election is set to secure the second consecutive democratic transition of power in a country marked by chronic dualism between political and military power. The event is particularly important, given the current political turmoil following the removal of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif from office. Pakistan is accused of giving support to terrorist groups. However, after the Taliban massacred 132 children at an army-run school in 2014, the authorities adopted a number of provisions to curtail terrorism. Nevertheless, the US administration, which considers Pakistan one of its key allies in the Afghanistan war, is unsatisfied with its record of fighting terrorism. The resultant US freeze on military aid to Islamabad may force the latter to switch allegiance to China and Russia, which could jeopardise Washington's efforts in Afghanistan. The China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) of infrastructure projects is an example of the already flourishing relations with Beijing. An EU election observation mission is monitoring the electoral process. Since 2014, Pakistan has benefitted from the EU's Generalised System of Preferences (GSP), which has boosted the country's exports to the EU. A new EU-Pakistan strategic engagement plan is to be signed in 2018. The European Parliament has expressed concern over the country's human rights situation on several occasions, with special reference to the persecution of religious minorities.