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Pakistan Elections Jeopardized by Violence, Military Involvement

July 23, 2018 in Economics

By Sahar Khan

Sahar Khan

Violence is increasing ahead of Pakistan’s
general elections this Wednesday. Throughout July, attacks on political candidates have killed
more than 150 people and injured scores more.

Why it matters: Pakistan’s National Counter
Terrorism Authority has issued a warning to vulnerable candidates, and
the army announced that it will pledge 350,000 security personnel, but the increase in
violence still spells trouble for election day. Although the
military has stepped in for security purposes, it is also involved
in intimidation.

The details:

The military’s
interference in the elections not only hurts its credibility but
also that of Pakistan’s political system.

Candidates from the Pakistan Muslim League-N party have accused
the military establishment of targeting the party and working to divide its
vote base. The media has also accused the military of meddling to influence the national narrative — and
ultimately the election results.

#HerVote, a campaign to encourage women to
vote, has been trending online. But women in rural areas remain
fearful of voting, and a ban on
women voting
continues in some locations.

The bottom line: The military’s interference in the elections not only hurts
its credibility but also that of Pakistan’s political system.
At the end of the day, the ability to vote safely doesn’t much
matter if the elections are unfair and unfree to begin with.

Sahar Khan is a
visiting research fellow in the Cato Institute’s Defense and
Foreign Policy Department. …read more

Source: OP-EDS

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