In a systematic effort to map the future political leadership of Pakistan, Pakistan Institute of Legislative Development and Transparency (PILDAT) has identified 21 leading political personalities of Pakistan projected to become Prime Ministers in the next 10-15 years’ time.

The list includes: Ahsan Iqbal, Aitzaz Ahsan, Asad Umar, Aseefa Bhutto-Zardari, Awais Ahmed Khan Leghari, Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari, Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan, Hamza Shahbaz, Hina Rabbani Khar, Humayun Akhtar Khan, Imran Khan, Ishaq Dar, Khurram Dastagir Khan, Liaqat Baloch, Marvi Memon, Maryam Nawaz, Mushahid Hussain Sayed, Omar Ayub Khan, Shah Mehmood Qureshi, Shahbaz Sharif and Shazia Marri. About half of the identified future leaders come from PML-N including three close members of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s family.

PILDAT is an “independent, non-partisan and not-for-profit indigenous research and training institution”, by its own admission. There is no reason to question the motives or transparency of the organisation. It has done good work in the past. However, the report’s analysis of each politician is a flattering profile of achievements and good deeds. For those who have read the list, and are internally panicking about the future of Pakistani leadership- they should take the whole report with a pinch of salt. The criteria according to which the 21 have been selected is very subjective and highly qualitative. The report states that “This effort is not about promoting a peculiar set of political hopefuls, it is about trying to assess the ground realities and present them before the people.” If that were true, the reviews of the politicians would be more critical and more informative for the readers.

Why an independent research body would take on this type of research is baffling. The rationale is good; to provide the population with a roadmap to assess their leaders, but PILDAT has tried so hard to remain away from controversy that they have come up with a list of fantastic superheroes.