Pakistan’s Coming Crisis

Issue Date July 2024
Volume 35
Issue 3
Page Numbers 69–83
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Pakistan’s 2024 elections delivered a shocking surprise. Imran Khan’s PTI won the largest number of seats amid heavy state repression. With this result, well-worn political patterns — whereby military favor virtually guaranteed a party’s electoral success — were upended. This essay argues that Pakistan’s 2024 election is not a “black swan” event but instead signals a coming crisis of governability that grows out of three structural changes: the rise of an aspirational middle class, the erosion of traditional authority patterns, and an intensifying economic and climate crisis. Consequently, a historic loss of military legitimacy is unlikely to abate in years ahead. 

About the Authors

Adeel Malik

Adeel Malik is Globe Fellow in the Economies of Muslim Societies at the Oxford Centre for Islamic Studies and associate professor of development economics at the Oxford Department of International Development, University of Oxford.

View all work by Adeel Malik

Maya Tudor

Maya Tudor is associate professor of government and public policy at the Blavatnik School of Government, University of Oxford. She is author of The Promise of Power: The Origins of Democracy in India and Autocracy in Pakistan (2013) and Varieties of Nationalism: Communities, Narratives, Identities (with Harris Mylonas, 2023).

View all work by Maya Tudor

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