Stay up to date with the latest on Pakistan's 2018 election with news and analysis from the Asia Program's team of experts and fellows, with this continually updating coverage collection.


Imran Khan's Shine Won't Last as Pakistan's Prime Minister (Foreign Policy) - by Michael Kugelman

As an athlete, Khan was universally loved. As a politician, he's deeply polarizing.

What Does Imran Khan's Victory Mean? - by Michael Kugelman

For his supporters, his triumph offers resounding proof that there is a “third way” in Pakistani politics — that a civilian leader not linked to family dynasties or older and established parties can rise to the very top. For his detractors, his victory represents a soft coup led by a Pakistani military determined to bring its preferred candidate to power.

Elections in Pakistan: What to Make of the Results -  Audio and selected quotes now available

“[Pakistan] has enormously good resources, very capable people, and could have a great future in the region – and I would just hope that that’s what happens.” -Jane Harman

Here's What's at Stake as Pakistan Heads to the Polls - interview with Michael Kugelman

Tensions and Violence ahead of Pakistan's Elections - interview with Michael Kugelman on Here & Now (NPR)

Before Pakistan's Election, a Tale of Two Narratives - by Michael Kugelman

In the final blitz before the election, expect two loud narratives to remain dominant—and, in the process, to drown out a number of key election storylines. Read more on our Asia Dispatches blog.

Is Imran Khan the Pakistani Military's 'Favorite Son'? - by Michael Kugelman

Given Khan's personality and policy positions, there's reason to doubt that he is the army's blue-eyed boy. Read more in this op-ed published by Al-Jazeera.


What to Expect from Pakistan's Election?

Date: July 24

On July 25, Pakistan will hold an election that will constitute the country’s second consecutive peaceful transfer of power. The incumbent Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz party, hit by corruption charges that have resulted in a 10-year jail sentence for former prime minister Nawaz Sharif, will try to fend off several opponents. They are led by the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf party, headed by cricket star-turned-politician Imran Khan. What might recent Pakistani political developments—including Sharif’s sentencing, dozens of parliamentarians changing their political affiliations, and the emergence of several new religious political parties—portend for the election outcome? What role, if any, might Pakistan’s powerful military be playing in the election? What implications might the election’s possible outcomes have for the United States? This event will address these questions and more.


Mariam Mufti
Assistant Professor of Political Science, University of Waterloo (Canada)

Sahar Khan
Visiting Research Fellow, CATO Institute

Tamanna Salikuddin
Senior Expert, U.S. Institute of Peace, and Former Pakistan and Afghanistan Director, U.S. National Security Council


Michael Kugelman
Deputy Director and Senior Associate for South Asia



Ground Truth Briefing: Elections in Pakistan: What to Make of the Results?

Date: July 26
Time: 10:00 am - 11:00 am

On July 25, Pakistanis head to the polls for a closely contested election at a turbulent time for the country. The campaign has been dominated by charges of corruption against the ruling party — resulting earlier this month in the sentencing of former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif to 10 years in prison — and accusations of electoral meddling by the country’s powerful military. In the days before the election, Pakistan was rocked by several mass-casualty terrorist attacks on electoral candidates.

On the day after the election, a trio of experts in Pakistan will weigh in on the results and discuss the broader implications for the country and the United States.

U.S. toll-free number: 888-942-8140
International call-in number: 1-517-308-9203
Participant passcode: 13304


Pamela Constable
Former Public Policy Scholar, South Asia Correspondent, The Washington Post

Zahid Hussain
Former Pakistan Scholar, author and journalist

Mosharraf Zaidi
Columnist, The News


Michael Kugelman
Deputy Director and Senior Associate for South Asia

Additional Coverage:

Imran Khan, as New Leader, Could Help Pakistan Reshape Its Image (The New York Times)

Arrests and intimidation fuel fears of 'dirty' election in Pakistan (The Guardian)

As former Pakistan leader returns to begin prison sentence, deadly bombing adds to 'atmosphere of fear' (The Washington Post) 

Radicals, extremists campaign ahead of Pakistan elections (AP)

Pakistan election: 'Military does not want Sharif's party to win another term' (DW)

Charges of rigging, intimidation mar Pakistan campaign (KOB4)

Why China has become an important factor in Pakistan general election (Business Standard)