After the election: Pakistan’s unpredictable future

The election may be over, but the struggle in Pakistan goes on. The potential for this nation to implode is real and will have catastrophic consequences.

For decades Pakistani politics has consisted of a series of military regimes interspersed with governments run by two parties: the Bhuttos’ Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) and the Sharifs’ Pakistan Muslim League (PML-N). And as millions of Pakistanis have repeatedly complained, the PPP and the PML-N have been little more than family businesses generating vast fortunes for a tiny and fabulously rich ruling elite.

So where will justice in government come from in this next five years? As these family dynasties amass their fortune poverty in the nation increases. Research by the Asian Human Rights Commission shows that one in very three Pakistanis is living in poverty, about 58.7 million of 180 million live below the poverty line. But poverty is more than a numbers game. Those most affected are the marginalised and vulnerable, usually women and children. This has long term impact on health, education and quality of life.

The Taliban will continue to be a threat. They are more confident than ever and have called for an overthrow of democracy. The threat of increased violence as they press their agenda, diminishing space for Christians and the Church, and the further marginalisation of women is real in post-election Pakistan. The more immediate economic concerns mean this sort of threat is usually dismissed.

The crisis for Pakistan is not merely economic, social or political. There is a spiritual battle for the heart of this nation. Concerted prayer is needed to hold back the forces of evil. Christians and the Church need the support of prayer to stand firm and be salt and light.

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