On 8 February 2024, Pakistan holds its general election — the first since Prime Minister Imran Khan was removed from power in 2022 and long after the constitutionally-mandated deadline for holding an election after the dissolution of the National Assembly.
There is widespread concern that this election may be among the most restrictive in Pakistan’s recent memory. The former Prime Minister is now in jail. Candidates have been barred from running as part of his party, and are now running as independents. Electoral authorities have worked to prevent opposition candidates from contesting altogether, including by rejecting or delaying nomination papers.
Pakistan faces tremendous challenges, from unclean water and unequal access to education to failing public infrastructure and grinding poverty. These have been exacerbated by a tough austerity package implemented at the behest of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), which saw the state reduce education and development financing with dire consequences for the most vulnerable Pakistanis. Despite the risks, the IMF has now released a second tranche of loans, setting the stage for arduous payments and further cuts down the line. Meanwhile, food price inflation remains at roughly 28%.
In response, Pakistani trade unions and farmers have organized a steady stream of protests to take on the soaring cost of living and spiraling social injustices. Now, Progressive International member Haqooq-e-Khalq Party is contesting the upcoming election in one of the poorest neighborhoods in Lahore, bringing a message of peace and justice to the people of Pakistan.
At the invitation of progressive forces in the city, the Progressive International is dispatching a delegation to Lahore to accompany the electoral process; to strengthen ties with movements and unions in Pakistan; and to unite, organize, and mobilize progressive forces around the world to stand in solidarity with them in the struggle for the future of their country.