Parliament building in Islamabad, Pakistan

Political situation Political stability in a setting of extremism and weak institutions and infrastructure

Since gaining independence in 1947, Pakistan has spent long periods under military rule. With the parliamentary and presidential elections in 2008, the country completed a peaceful transition from military rule to democracy. In 2013, Pakistan managed, for the first time in its history, a handover from one democratically elected government to the next.

In 2010, a constitutional amendment was adopted. Among other things, it strengthened parliament, the position of the Prime Minister, the powers of the provinces vis-à-vis central government and the independence of the judiciary. The right to information and the right to education were also enshrined in the constitution. However, the military continues to have a great deal of influence, especially on foreign and security policy.

In May 2018, the constitution of Pakistan was amended again in order to make what used to be called the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) part of the Province of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. This reform was a decisive step towards completing Pakistan's unity and towards establishing the rule of law and democracy in the region.

On 25 July 2018, parliamentary elections took place, which were won by Imran Khan and his Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf Party (PTI, Pakistan Movement for Justice). Even though significant restrictions were imposed during the election campaigning, the elections can be described as democratic, leading to the second peaceful change of government in succession. The new government had promised a number of socio-economic reforms and efforts against corruption. So far, its record has been mixed, and its fiscal space is limited. The socio-economic situation remains difficult, not least because of the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Terrorist attacks

Pakistan's internal security is threatened by terrorism, extremism and separatist movements. The security situation in the Province of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, in the former tribal areas and in the Province of Balochistan is constantly tense.

Even though the security situation in significant parts of the country has improved, the government has so far not been able to enforce its monopoly on force throughout the country. Since the Taliban took power in Afghanistan, terrorism has begun to increase again, especially in Balochistan and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.

Terrorists mainly target military and police installations. But their victims also include their political opponents, representatives of the media, and religious minorities.