|Event Title:||ISAS Panel Discussion|
|Topic:||Pakistan under Imran Khan: A New Dawn?|
|Date/Time:||Thursday,23 August 2018 17:30 - Thursday,18 September 2019 22:13|
|Venue:||MEI Conference Room, Level 6, 29 Heng Mui Keng Terrace|
|Description:||Ambassador Gopinath Pillai gave the opening remark speech by introducing briefly the speakers and their expertise. He then commented that while popular opinion seems to put Mr Imran Khan, Pakistan’s new Prime Minister in the same league as Pakistan’s military due to their support for him, Ambassador Pillai reckoned that Mr Khan has and would eventually show to his people that he has independent thinking and influence on the country’s future foreign policy and domestic reformations. This is also in view that Pakistan’s expansion of its allies, from the U.S. to China at present, has changed the dynamics of collaboration between these foreign allies and the Pakistan military.
Following, Associate Professor Iqbal Singh (Visiting Research Associate Professor) highlighted on the recent election in Pakistan in relation to emerging parties focusing on religion. For instance, he mentioned a small but emerging party known as Tehreek e Islami, which pushes for Pakistan to be governed by Sharia Law and is opposed against strong capitalism. This party won two seats which is not significant, nonetheless suggest a changing dynamics of intertwining religion and politics in the minds of Pakistan voters in recent years. Professor Riaz Hassan also weighed in on the strength of existing stakeholders within Pakistan. Illustrating by the sociological measuring of trust, Professor Hassan highlighted that among various public institutions, the Pakistan military still yields the greatest share of trust Pakistan’s population at large, followed by religious scholars and education institutions. At the other spectrum, the police and parliament yields the lowest trust. Whether this structure would face adjustments, would depend on Mr Khan’s new administration. Mr Shahid Javed Burki, however, proposed a visible transformation in Pakistan’s politics through Mr Khan’s victory. Mr Burki held that Mr Khan’s appeal to the urban youth population in Pakistan, is something that has not happened before in the past. This essentially shifts political support from the rural to urban, and this could likely give Mr Khan another term after this as social contracts with urban youths are being strengthened. Finally, on foreign policy stances, Professor Raja Mohan shared Pakistan’s likelihood of being non-revisionist in terms of adhering to existing Western-led institutions, under Mr Khan’s government. This means working more closely with the IMF, World Bank and its western ally, the United States, rather than solely relying on bilateral ties with China alone. The session then ended off with the question and answer session, in which some prominent themes, such as the strengthening Pakistan’s governing institutions were raised and answered by the panellists in a succinct manner.