Pakistan’s Donald Trump Moment

Imran Khan’s win in the recent Pakistani elections is a cause for concern.  Not only are there grave reservations about the manner in which he came to power–draconian media curbs preventing voters from making informed choices and politically-motivated judicial proceedings disqualifying opponents and denying participants a level playing field–but serious questions have also been raised about Imran Khan himself and his suitability to lead an important country like Pakistan.  Some have likened him to Donald Trump.  The comparison isn’t out of place, particularly when it comes to their attitudes towards women.

I first met Imran Khan in 1993.  I was a college student in the United States at the time but was visiting my parents, who then lived in Saudi Arabia.  Imran Khan was staying with very close friends of my family, trying to raise funds for a cancer hospital he wished to build in memory of his late mother, who had lost her life to cancer.  His hosts, who had already contributed a very large sum for the hospital, were trying to help him raise more money by planning a fundraiser at their home.

The night before the fundraiser they had invited a couple of friends to meet Imran Khan informally.  It was a small group, of only about ten people.  The conversation had somehow drifted to Mike Tyson’s 1992 rape conviction.  I had followed the case closely as I planned to go to law school one day, but was most disappointed with Imran’s flippant dismissal of the…

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