Pakistani voters weigh their options as China and the military transform their country
Rosita Armytage, Durham University
Pakistan’s general election is set for July 25, and the battle lines are clear. Three parties are contending the national leadership – the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N), the Pakistan’s People’s Party (PPP), and the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) – and all three have big issues to confront: the problem of deep ethnic divisions, the implications of Chinese-backed economic growth, and the influence of the military.
It’s still unclear who exactly is meant to benefit from Pakistan’s rapidly growing economy. The incumbent PML-N government has grown the economy at almost 5% per year over the last five years – and did so by improving the electricity supply to major industry, offering massive tax cuts to large companies, curbing terrorism, and attracting Chinese investment. The resulting growth promises significant improvements in the standard of living for millions of Pakistanis, but it also comes with risks.