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Spearhead Analysis: Elections held hostage
Writer, politics, Greg, research, social activist

By Nida Afaque

As elections draw near, the political climate within Pakistan has turned sober. Contesting parties are working industriously to widen their voter base, the Election Commission is overworked with verifying candidates' credibility and the interim government is struggling to contain the country's affairs until the next government is ready to take charge. But there is another kind of force, one that is becoming more elusive than ever, which is busy opposing efforts to a peaceful democratic transition.

These anti-state forces have been involved in harmful activities for quite long. Pakistan has had to pay the price of these terrorist elements through money, blood and an overall loss of security. Since the beginning of this year, the weekly death toll averages 175, with most violence concentrated in Karachi, Baluchistan, KPK and FATA. Various religious extremists like Jundullah, Lashkar-e-Jhangvi (LeJ) and most commonly, Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) have been found responsible for the attacks on senior politicians and government and security buildings across the country. Other civil separatist movements like the Baloch Liberation Army (BLA) have targeted government officials and security personnel.



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