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London, April 28 – A forecast by the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) has said Pakistan will head to polls in October, if not earlier, and that former Prime Minister Imran Khan’s victory is likely due to widespread discontent among the ruling coalition government.
The analysis division of the Economist Group, EIU, said that political stability and security are “tenuous” in Pakistan, and that economic growth will “slow materially” in 2023, Dawn reported.
“Pakistan will conduct national elections in 2023, where we expect the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) party led by Imran Khan to win owing to widespread discontent with the ruling PML-N coalition, led by the incumbent Prime Minister, Shehbaz Sharif,” the report said, adding that the political environment will remain marred by violence, Dawn reported.
In its baseline forecast, EIU predicted opposition victories in the legislative polls scheduled to be held in Pakistan and Thailand, saying that elections in both countries will be contentious with risk of military interference.
“Pakistan’s election is most likely to occur in October, after the end of the current parliamentary term in August, but it could happen earlier given a worsening economic crisis. Looming loan repayments and a lack of foreign exchange reserves mean the country is teetering on the edge of sovereign debt default.
“Averting this will require painful economic measures, including severe import repression, that could force an early election,” the report said.
It said, Khan, who is predicted to win the election, will have “little choice but to (negotiate with IMF) again”, Dawn reported.