The PDM government’s one year of ruling Pakistan has been nothing short of a disaster. Despite their lofty promises of progress and prosperity, the reality has been marked by a series of lows that have left the nation reeling.
The no-confidence vote on April 10, 2022, was marred by accusations of bribery, which set the tone for what was to come. After successfully ousting Prime Minister Imran Khan, the PDM installed Shahbaz Sharif as the new Prime Minister, while Khan launched a Haqeeqi Azadi March against the government. May 25, 2022, saw an important turning point, as Khan’s long march reached Islamabad, only to be met with brutal force and containers blocking their entry.
The PDM’s descent into degeneracy saw a brutal crackdown on journalists and PTI members, with arrests, threats, and violence becoming commonplace. Journalist and anchorperson Imran Riaz Khan, a vocal critic of the PDM, was arrested in July, while renowned journalist and anchorperson Arshad Sharif was forced to flee Pakistan due to death threats from unknown individuals. Sadly, Sharif was later shot dead in Kenya, and the investigation into his murder is still ongoing.
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The PDM’s self-proclaimed “successful” ruling period also saw the arrest and torture of Shahbaz Gill, the Chief of Staff to Imran Khan, with allegations of physical and sexual violence. Even the world-renowned intellectual Noam Chomsky expressed his concern over Gill’s treatment in a letter to the Chief Justice of Pakistan. The world witnessed the horrible situation of human rights in Pakistan as a senior Senator and PTI member Azam Swati was arrested and subjected to torture and later, was blackmailed using a private video. The reign of PDM also saw a series of private audio and video leaks of different political and military individuals.
As if the economic situation in Pakistan was not already dire enough, a large-scale natural disaster struck the nation, leaving many struggling to rebuild their lives. In an effort to improve the economic situation, Miftah Ismail was replaced with Ishaq Dar, who had been in exile since 2018 after being declared a proclaimed offender by the National Accountability Bureau in 2017. However, before his return, the accountability court declared that Dar was no longer a proclaimed offender. Meanwhile, there were some high-profile acquittals, including those of Shahbaz Sharif and his son Hamza on money laundering charges, and Maryam Nawaz and her husband Safdar in the Avenfield case. These developments have left many questioning the integrity of the justice system in Pakistan.
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Now, the PDM government is continually postponing the election date, abrogating the constitution, and failing to renegotiate terms with the IMF for fund relief. Foreign reserves and the value of the rupee have fallen drastically, and inflation has reached an all-time high. Despite all this chaos and destruction, the PDM continues to celebrate its one-year “success,” while the people of Pakistan can see nothing but a dark abyss ahead.
It is imperative for the government to step up and take accountability for the failures of the past year. It is time to make amends and set the country on a trajectory toward progress and prosperity. The first step towards achieving this goal is to hold a free and fair election as soon as possible. Only through a transparent and democratic electoral process can the people of Pakistan truly have their voices heard and have the opportunity to elect leaders who will work tirelessly for their welfare.