The romance with communism seems over, now people across the world are having affairs with populism. The rise of populism can be observed throughout the world in Western Democracies such as Italy, Hungary, Austria, Britain, Netherlands as well as in Asian countries like Turkey, Pakistan etc.In recent years, populism has made its place in the power structure particularly after the Brexit and the United States Election in which Donald Trump became the President of America. Turkey enlightens the same story where Tayyip Erdogan has dominated politics by gaining the presidency of Turkey. Pakistan was also facing the wave of populism for last few years and as a final point PTI with trendy slogans has taken the lead in the general elections 2018. Populism is a quite multifaceted term that cannot be straightforwardly defined as it may comprise of the right wing, left wing and even centre right and centre left approach. Nevertheless, populism is an assortment of some beliefs and attitudes that segregates the society into two groups; the first group consists of the pure, honest and sincere people who want to bring the change whereas, the second group includes dishonest, scandalous and corrupt politicians who are supposed to be an obstacle in the way of change.In the same way, the strategy of populist PTI was very simple and appealing to the ordinary people because it divided society and politics into two groups; the in group (supposedly pure) and out group (allegedly corrupt). PTI successfully convinced people that traditional political parties are the reason for their deprivation and illiteracy; hence they targeted various kinds of voters and supporters with attractive symbols and slogans to bring the positive and long awaited change. They assumed that our lost glory can only be achieved by replacing the long-established political elite with the honest leadership.However, now PTI has happened take the majority in Parliament, but here few questions also emerge with the rise of this populism in Pakistan such as; will the populist politics of PTI support or undermine the democratic norms or appear as a threat to democracy? What will be the fate of civil society and media in this populist regime? Does the PTI government in reality have solutions for the existing problems of Pakistan? The media played a central and effective role in promoting populist movements by disparaging the current democratic system and strengthening the PTI narrative. It is quite ironic that populist parties use and exploit media, but act against media freedoms. The fact of the matter is they cannot digest any criticism. Opinions in favour of particular political articles are not allowed in the newspapers, even the news channels are practicing self-censorship and avoiding coverage of certain issuesPopulism, influences three things in a state; democracy, civil society and media. Although, democracy is acknowledged as the most accepted and illustrious form of government among the existing systems in the world but like other populist parties, PTI campaigned that democracy has been serving, supporting and strengthening the corrupt elite and sustaining the status quo in the country. Interestingly, populism emerges from the democratic systems yet perceived as the biggest challenge and a threat to democracy in modern epoch. The hostility of populist leadership towards their political adversaries dispirits the free, safe and sound political competition and environment.They presented their opponents not merely as political rivals rather evils which needs to be eliminated from the society. The foundation of liberal democracies is pluralism where different social groups or political parties compete with one another to achieve their desired legitimate goals under equal opportunities through free and fair elections. But on the other hand, if populism raises the slogans against this anti-pluralistic ideology, it surely becomes a threat even to mature and well-refined democracies.Despite the fact that PTI leaders were of the view that their struggle is to restore and implement the core values of democracy; but so far it seems the distinct nature of PTI politics developed into an indirect threat to democratic norms and values. Therefore, PTI must take some bold and democratic steps to wipe out this negative perception which is in the greater interest of political process and the democratic environment.Media played a central and effective role in promoting the populist movement by disparaging the current democratic system and strengthening the narrative of PTI. It is quite ironic that populist parties use and exploit media, but do not seem favourable to media and the matter of fact is, they cannot digest criticism from media. Particular political articles are not allowed to get published in the newspapers, even the news channels are practicing self-censorship and avoiding coverage of certain issues. Above and beyond, what will be the policy of PTI regarding media, no one knows.While moving towards civil society, we know that civil society derives strength from the democracy and vice versa yet the fate of civil society will not be different from media’s fate. Unfortunately, the chairman PTI has called the representatives of civil societies as khooni liberals. Civil society acts as a watchdog and advocates for civil liberties but in a conservative democracy, the space for civil society will be curtailed. Without an effervescent civil society the dream of good governance cannot be achieved.The most important and momentous question however still remains; will the populist politics of PTI provide an evenhanded and wide-ranging solution to the existing problems of Pakistan?The writer is a freelance journalist and Mphil Scholar International Development Studies. He can reach me at firstname.lastname@example.orgPublished in Daily Times, August 16th 2018.