World-renowned cricketer Imran Khan was elected prime minister of Pakistan in August 2018 with his party winning over 40 percent of the seats in parliament in the July 25 election. Though the election was marred by accusations of election rigging, Khan’s victory points to the rising appeal of populism in Pakistan and a rejection of the status quo.
Khan’s most tangible expression of his populist agenda is his release of a “First 100 Days Agenda” to reform Pakistan. A majority of the six themes in the plan focus on economic, governance, and national security reforms. While supporters view Khan as part of the new guard ready to enact serious change, critics view his agenda as offering lofty goals that are impossible to implement.
On November 8, the Center for Middle East Policy at Brookings hosted a discussion analyzing Khan’s first three months as prime minister and how his performance compares to his 100 days plan. Bruce Riedel, senior fellow in the Center for Middle East Policy, and Madiha Afzal, nonresident fellow in the Foreign Policy and Global Economy and Development programs, discussed these questions in a conversation moderated by Michael O’Hanlon, senior fellow and director of research for Foreign Policy. Following the conversation, the panelists took questions from the audience.
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At the end of the day, as we all know thorny national security issues don’t just involve the military; political-military considerations invariably bleed into them. If the senior military’s leadership views are going to be just constrained to military advice … who is thinking about issues from that broader perspective?