ISLAMABAD - The election campaign in Pakistan has yet to gain momentum due to multiple factors including uncertainty about final schedule of the polls, return of PML-N’s supermo and rumours making rounds about delay in polls due to freezing temperature in January. A debate is set to start in the country that with other contributory factors even adverse weather conditions may also play its part to impact the democratic process in Pakistan.
Though the history of general elections in the country from 1970 reveals that the ‘sizzling heatwaves’ and ‘freezing winds’ could not create any impact over the polls. From 1970 to 2019, the previous general elections history reveals that four elections were held in the mid of winter seasons. Last two polls [2013 and 2018] were held even in extreme warm weather [May and July]. The confusing political statements by the heavyweight politicians near the polls always create confusion among the voters and even contestants, as the contenders avoid to start their campaigns due to uncertainty about the polls.
A relgio-political party chief Maulana Fazlur Rahman last month had come up with two contrasting political statements in the political arena. Rahman confused his political allies and opponents by saying that the month of January would not be good for the elections due to lot of cold and snow in northern areas and Balochistan. In the second statement, with the gap of a week, argued in the favour of polls in the month of January. The Election Commission of Pakistan [ECP] has yet not formally dropped a hint to delay the polls due to harsh weather in the country but the political heavyweights have started drawing attention towards hardship due to freezing temperature in January. The commission, around a month ago, has shared a tentative schedule [end of January2024] for the general elections but it has yet to give a final date for the polls. Background discussions with the responsible in the electoral watchdog revealed that the weather condition is one of the major factors before announcing the final schedule for the polls.
The weather forecast will be kept in mind before announcing the polls but previous history revealed that the general elections were held in extreme weather conditions. Political and elections experts viewed that the number of constituencies and voters in the harsh weather areas are comparatively not much in number to force the top election regulatory authority to delay the polls.The reasons behind dilly dally in the election campaign will soon get momentum when PML-N’s supremo land in the country. The rest of main political parties will also formally kickstart their election’s campaign in their constituencies. Whereas, some party workers in different constituencies, talking to this scribe, shared that they would soon be given direction to start print, electronic, and social media campaigns as in this regard services of various advertisement agencies would be used for the purpose. The party members in each winning constituency have been asked to complete work in each ward of their constituency and start local level campaigns at least near their houses.