First Wednesday: Pakistan goes to the polls

Talk Wednesday 1 May 2013, 7:00 PM
As Pakistan gears up for critically important elections, we are joined by a panel of experts who will be discussing the significance of this election and analysing the candidates, their alliances and policies.

On 11 May Pakistanis will go to the polls and for the first time in the country’s 65-year history the current democratically elected civilian government will transfer power directly to the newly elected government.

Set against a backdrop of violence and extremist attacks, this is a big test for Pakistan’s democracy. We will be examining the challenges facing the incoming government.

Chaired by Paddy O’Connell of BBC Radio 4′s Broadcasting House.

The panel:

Wajid Shamsul Hasan is the High Commissioner of Pakistan to the UK, a position he has held since 2008. After graduating from the University of Karachi in 1962 he joined Pakistan’s largest media group, the Jang Group of Newspapers. He became editor of its English newspaper the Daily News in 1969, he also edited its English weekly magazine – The Weekly MAG.

Pir Zubair Shah is the Edward R. Murrow press fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR). He joins CFR from the New York Times, he was a reporter in Pakistan, working in the Waziristan tribal area along the border with Afghanistan. He shared the 2009 Pulitzer Prize for international reporting for his work at the New York Times and was the 2012 Nieman Fellow.

Irfan Husain is a columnist with Dawn newspaper in Pakistan and author of Fatal Faultlines: Pakistan, Islam and the West.

Umber Khairi is a producer and radio broadcaster with BBC Urdu at the BBC World Service. She worked in Pakistan from the late 80’s through the 90’s, during which time there were four elections.