Pakistan: Analysts decry ‘blatant interference’ in electoral process


In the lead-up to the general elections in Pakistan, the political landscape is intensifying, particularly for the Pakistan Tehreek-Insaf (PTI) party and its incarcerated former chairman, Imran Khan.

A series of contentious incidents have spurred accusations of unfair play, creating a charged atmosphere as the nation approaches a crucial electoral moment.

Chairman of PTI, Gohar Khan, has declared that Imran Khan will contest from three constituencies, adding a layer of complexity to an already contentious political scenario.

Simultaneously, PTI lawyer Barrister Ali Zafar Khan has raised serious concerns, alleging that the nomination papers of their candidates are being forcibly seized and torn.

Analysts have voiced their apprehensions about the unfolding situation, with some describing it as unprecedented and unjust.

Speaking on Express TV’s programme “Experts,” analyst Ayaz Khan expressed concern over the alleged interference in the electoral process.

“This is the first time in the history of the country that nomination papers are being snatched and torn. Everything was managed so well before,” he remarked

Ayaz questioned the fairness of the electoral playing field and suggested that Chief Justice of Pakistan Qazi Faez Isa faces a significant test in ensuring a level playing field.

Chief Editor of The Express Tribune, Naveed Hussain, decried the perceived lack of free and fair elections in Pakistan’s history, labelling it as a tragedy for the democratic process.

“I have never seen such blatant interference as this time. The first and second-tier leadership of PTI were put in jails; some were forced to do press conferences and some left the political party. Now, the third and lower-tier leadership, who want to contest elections, are being raided in their homes. I think there is a fear that Imran Khan does not want to leave the country by making any deal,” he added.

Naveed Hussain voiced concern that conducting the election under the current circumstances could lead to a recurrence of the political turbulence witnessed in the three years following the 2018 election, creating a parallel situation post the 2024 election.

Analyst Amir Ilyas Rana urged clarity from key figures within PTI regarding their objections, specifically mentioning Barrister Ali Zafar, Aitzaz Ahsan, and Latif Khosa.

Amir highlighted the potential challenge to Imran Khan’s candidacy if his sentence remains unresolved. He expressed hope that, as the election campaign progresses, a fair and level playing field would be established for all parties involved.

Faysal Husain, the Bureau Chief of Express TV, speculated on Imran Khan’s perspective, suggesting that the former prime minister views the establishment as the centre of power in Pakistan.

Faysal expressed concerns that Imran Khan might not be permitted to contest the elections, emphasising the potential adverse effects on both the electoral process and the subsequent government’s performance.

Analyst Mohammad Ilyas called for the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) to address PTI’s allegations, urging transparency and accountability.

He stressed the need for a level playing field, stating that denying Imran Khan the opportunity to contest the elections could undermine the legitimacy of the