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Sunday, June 23, 2024

Pakistan parliament to dissolve for polls

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ISLAMABAD, Pakistan—Pakistan’s parliament was due to be dissolved Wednesday, ushering in a technocrat-led interim government to oversee an election that will not include the country’s most popular politician, Imran Khan.

The country has been in political turmoil since the former international cricket star was booted from power in April last year, culminating in his being jailed for graft at the weekend following a months-long crackdown on his party.

By law, elections should be held within 90 days of parliament’s dissolution, but the outgoing government has already warned they are likely to be delayed.

The unlikely coalition between the country’s usually feuding dynastic parties — which came together to kick out Khan — has won little popular support during its 18 months at the helm of the world’s fifth-most populous country.

The economy is still in the doldrums despite a new International Monetary Fund bailout, with crippling foreign debt, soaring inflation and widespread unemployment from factories made idle because they lack foreign currency to buy raw materials.

“Economic decisions are invariably tough and often unpopular, requiring a government with a longer tenure to effectively implement them,” said Ahmed Bilal Mehboob, president of the Pakistan Institute of Legislative Development and Transparency think tank.

“This election holds significance as it will result in a five-year term for a new government, which ideally should be empowered to make essential decisions vital for economic recovery.”

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