A New Pakistan?


Pakistanis went to the polls this week to vote for a new national government. The Tehreek-e-Insaaf (PTI) won enough seats to form the next government and its chairman, Imran Khan, will be the next prime minister of Pakistan.

Here’s what Johns Hopkins SAIS experts at The Pakistan Forum are saying about it:

A New Pakistan?

Madiha Afzal told CNN that “A Khan victory will herald a new era — many Pakistanis who are sick of the same two parties have put a lot of hope in him for a (new) Pakistan.”

But can Khan deliver a “new Pakistan”? Afzal said “we’ll have to wait and see if one will, in fact, materialize.”

An Uneven Playing Field

Others who are more skeptical claim the military did things to give Khan an unfair advantage.

“Claims of election rigging occur after every election in Pakistan — but this time around, they will be harder to brush aside given the overt role the military has played,” said Shamila Chaudhary in Bloomberg News.

Gauging voter preference has always been difficult in Pakistan, where feudal landlords have a lot of sway in influencing the voting patterns of the people they take care of.

Before the election, Josh White told VOX that “This is an election in which people are probably going to vote on the basis of personalities, or who they think is going to win.”

What Happens Next?

In his victory speech, Khan spoke of his vision for an Islamic welfare state in Pakistan, the economic challenges his government must address, and a host of other socioeconomic priorities that received optimistic praise from observers.

Khan’s agenda is ambitious. Dan Markey told BBC that if Khan doesn’t win an outright majority, he will have to work with some of the old forces. Watch his commentary below:

Follow Us

For more Pakistan elections commentary from Johns Hopkins SAIS experts at The Pakistan Forum, follow Madiha Afzal, Shamila N. Chaudhary, Dan Markey, and Josh White on Twitter.


shamilach View All →

D.C. based writer, foreign policy analyst, photographer, and former White House and U.S. State Department staffer and Afghanistan and Pakistan junkie now recovering at the Johns Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies

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