On occasion, we allow a guest blogger or two to share relevant insights. In this instance, I’m turning over my blog to Ahmad I. Chaudhary, a graduate student at the Fels Institute of Government, who reports on the potentially historic recent elections in Pakistan.
The Wharton School has a vibrant alumni network, with many international students leaving Wharton to play prominent and effective roles in their home countries. Among other areas, Wharton’s Pakistani alumni have made a mark for themselves in the field of politics.
This May, Pakistan went to the polls for the 10th time since independence. In the past, civilian governments have been cut short through judicial, executive or military interventions. This was the first time in the 66-year history of Pakistan that a civilian government completed its full constitutional five-year term without an intervention, paving the way for a smooth transfer of power. These elections also hold a special place in Pakistani politics because they witnessed the highest turnout since the elections in 1977.
The historic elections in Pakistan featured two prominent Wharton alumni:
Ahsan Iqbal, WG’86, was elected to the National Assembly of Pakistan for the fourth time this past election. He is considered to be a close aide of the Prime Minister-elect Nawaz Sharif. Iqbal is currently the deputy secretary general of the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N), which has emerged as the largest party in the National Assembly and is set to form the government. He has held several important positions in the past, which include being appointed the minister for education, deputy chairman of the planning commission, and the chief coordinator and author of the Vision 2010 for Pakistan. Iqbal successfully ran for re-election for the National Assembly from Narowal (NA-117), his constituency in rural Punjab. He bagged 94,744 votes against his closest opponent’s 51,838 votes. (Update: Iqbal was subsequently named federal minister for planning and development in the new cabinet.)
Dr. Miftah Ismail Ahmad, G’88, GrW’90, holds a Ph.D. in public finance from the Wharton School. While he did not run for elections directly in 2013, he was part of the election strategy team and the manifesto committee of the PML-N. He has played a vital role in defining the economic and energy policy of the party, and he represented PML-N on national television debates during the elections. He has served as the CEO of the Punjab Board of Investment and Trade and worked as an economist with the International Monetary Fund in the past.
—Ahmad I. Chaudhary
Editor’s note: Ahmad I. Chaudhary is a finance and public policy professional enrolled in the MPA program at University of Pennsylvania’s Fels Institute of Government. He has experience in corporate finance advisory with KASB-Bank of America Merrill Lynch, Pakistan and Crosby Capital Pakistan. Ahmad is associated with the World Bank as a consultant in urban transport and is also a fellow at the Pakistan based think tank Institute of Democracy and Development.