Rafia Zakaria is a columnist for DAWN Pakistan and the author of The Upstairs Wife: An Intimate History of Pakistan (2015) and Veil (2017). She writes the “Alienated” column for The Baffler and is a contributor to CNN, Guardian Books and The Times Literary Supplement. (July 2018)


Pakistan’s Promised Day?

A man on his cell phone sitting in front of a poster showing Imran Khan, head of the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf party, which won this past week’s elections, Islamabad, Pakistan, July 28, 2018

Imran Khan, the Pakistani cricketer turned playboy turned right-wing politician, swept Pakistan’s elections last week. Pakistanis, drained after the drama of electoral vigils, delayed results, and allegations of rigging and meddling, will likely cleave to the promise of Faiz Ahmed Faiz’s poetry. They console themselves by believing that they’ll one day “see that day that has been promised” them, as Faiz’s famous lines go. That they do not have a united vision for this future day seems not to be of Imran Khan’s—or anyone’s—concern.