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South Asia

Can Imran Khan Build a New Pakistan?

Austerity and an economic slowdown stand in the way of Prime Minister Imran Khan’s pledge to build a “New Pakistan.”

The official photo of Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan, taken after assuming office in August 2018. (Image Credit: Government of Pakistan)
The official photo of Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan, taken after assuming office in August 2018. (Image Credit: Government of Pakistan)

After twenty-two years in politics, ex-cricketer and philanthropist Imran Khan assumed the office of the prime minister of Pakistan last year. He’s pledged to build nothing short of a “Naya” or “New” Pakistan, where government services and spending are directed at the welfare of the common man and not the country’s rapacious elite.

But the economy he’s inherited is in deep trouble. An IMF bailout is imminent. And while it will give Pakistan a temporary pathway out of its balance of payments crisis, the austerity measures that will come along with it will usher in yet another period of slow growth and high inflation.

In a time of austerity, he must somehow fuel economic growth and human development, with meager resources. Is he up to the task?

Guests:

  • Mosharraf Zaidi, columnist, The News
  • Salman Masood, Pakistan correspondent, The New York Times

Listen:

Google Play Music | iTunes | Pocket Casts | RadioPublic | Spotify | Stitcher | TuneIn

Resources:

Arif Rafiq, “The Imran Khan Phenomenon,” Foreign Policy, January 12, 2012

Salman Masood, “Imran Khan Calls for Vast Anti-Poverty Plan, but Money Is Tight,” The New York Times, March 28, 2019

Mosharraf Zaidi, “Can Imran Khan Save Pakistan?” The New York Times, August 17, 2018.

Arif Rafiq is the editor of Globely News and host of The Pivot podcast. He's contributed to publications such as Foreign Affairs, Foreign Policy, the New Republic, and POLITICO Magazine, and has appeared on broadcast outlets such as Al Jazeera English, the BBC World Service, CNN International, and National Public Radio. Rafiq is also a non-resident fellow at the Middle East Institute in Washington, DC.

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