The Dawn of Imran Khan
The Electoral Failure of Islamism and Pakistan’s Post-Islamist Turn
“As hundreds of thousands of Pakistanis inundated the cities of Lahore and Karachi to hear the rising cricketer-turned-politician Imran Khan speak, commentators and politicians alike were baffled: how did the peripheral figure and his respective party become a formidable voice in Pakistan’s politics within a few months? This paper will argue that the ascension of Imran Khan’s party, the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaaf, can be attributed to its adoption of a post-Islamist rhetoric of religiosity and rights, which became publicly appealing following the formation and failure of the Islamist conglomerate, the Muttahida Majles-e-Amal. As post-colonial Pakistan’s institutional divide between the political elites of the state and the cultural religious groups of the public sphere has remain fixed throughout Islamism’s political tenures, Pakistan is experiencing a post-Islamist turn, where a novel relationship between political institutions and the public sphere is being negotiated. In conclusion, this paper will analyze Imran Khan’s political speeches in Lahore and Karachi and convey how his rhetoric is attractive, unique, and post-Islamist.