PM Imran Khan
All eyes are likely to remain on Prime Minister Imran Khan and his government’s performance during 2021, the second half of his third year in office. Faced with multiple challenges, especially the coronavirus and a fledgling economy, the PM has vowed to deliver on his promises this year. The stakes could never have been higher as the opposition continues to demand his resignation. His leadership skills will remain in the spotlight as the government tries to weather the storm and complete its term.
Leading the anti-government movement from the front, Maryam Nawaz has established herself as a political force to reckon with within a short span of time. Her party, the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz, is part of the Pakistan Democratic Movement alliance and the most vocal against the government. In the absence of her father, Nawaz Sharif, she has taken up the challenge of confronting the government.
Bilawal Bhutto Zardari
The Pakistan Peoples Party is now being led by Bilawal Bhutto Zardari, who is also in the arena to challenge the government. For his party to succeed in its drive to oust the federal government, he will have to use all his political acumen and pragmatism. However, he has to walk a tightrope as his party is in power in Sindh and a misstep could change that.
Asim Saleem Bajwa
As head of the China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) Authority, Lt Gen Asim Saleem Bajwa (retired) has the crucial responsibility of managing the vast array of projects being completed in the length and breadth of the country with Chinese investments. Work on these projects has been progressing despite the challenges posed by the Covid-19 pandemic.
Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus
As director-general of the World Health Organisation, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus’s face has now become familiar across the globe thanks to his daily press briefings on the coronavirus situation. He will continue to play a vital role in coordinating international efforts to control the pandemic and to ensure the distribution of the newly-developed Covid-19 vaccines across countries.
As the US and China engage in a space race, Zhang Rongqiao spearheads efforts to unfurl the red flag beyond earth. He is head of the ambitious Mars exploration mission, Tianwen-1, that is headed to the red planet right now and will reach it sometime in February 2021. It is carrying a robotic spacecraft, which consists of an orbiter, a deployable camera, a lander and a rover.
In 2020, Nergis Mavalvala, became the first woman to serve as dean of MIT’s School of Science. Born and raised in Pakistan, Mavalvala is the Curtis and Kathleen Marble professor of astrophysics. She is a leading member of the LIGO (Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory) which made headlines in 2016 by detecting ripples in the fabric of space-time caused by black hole collisions. She won a MacArthur fellowship, among other awards, for her part in the research.
A professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School, Rochelle Walensky has been selected to lead the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) by US President-elect Joe Biden. As infections and deaths peak in the US, she will have to play a critical role to reverse the trend and vaccinate US citizens.