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Pakistan’s Donald Trump

Updated Sep 19, 2015 05:26pm


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The writer teaches physics in Lahore and Islamabad.
The writer teaches physics in Lahore and Islamabad.

Even his fellow Republicans have labelled him insane. But, defying the predictions of all soothsayers and political pundits, Donald Trump’s still surging popularity with Republican voters suggests that he could become America’s next president. The first step, now within reach, will be winning the Republican Party’s nomination.

Articulating the ‘mad as hell’ anger felt by many Americans towards Washington’s putatively liberal policies, Trump knows it pays to be outrageous and wickedly racist. He follows the black-hating governor of Alabama in the 1960’s, George Wallace, who would famously shout “segregation now, segregation tomorrow, segregation forever” at rallies. Some of Trump’s claims are breathtaking: Mexican immigrants are mostly criminals and rapists, and President Obama is a foreign-born Muslim.

An American political commentator, John Dean (of Watergate fame), describes Trump as “a near perfect authoritarian leader” with a personality type that is “intimidating and bullying, faintly hedonistic, vengeful, pitiless, exploitive, manipulative, dishonest, cheat to win, highly prejudiced, mean-spirited, militant, nationalistic, tell others what they want to hear, take advantage of ‘suckers’, specialise in creating false images to sell self, may or may not be religious.”

Made of the same stuff but packaged differently, the Trump-Khan duo has thrilled extremists.

Take away the “faintly” and this neatly fits Trump’s Pakistani counterpart, cricketer Imran Khan, who burst upon Pakistan’s political scene with his mammoth Lahore jalsa of 2011. With a lavish lifestyle and his playboy past neatly tucked away in some closet the reformed Khan promised the moon as he cavorted on the stage, loudly praying towards Makkah for success.

Khan’s support base is diverse: college-educated “burger bachas”, brigades of bejewelled begums, hysterical semi-educated youth, and wild-eyed TTP supporters. Delighting them all, he unleashes from time to time a steady stream of abuse upon his political rivals who threaten to sue him but are ultimately deterred by Pakistan’s labyrinthine court system.

Made of the same stuff but packaged differently, the Trump-Khan duo has thrilled racial and religious extremists. The former leader of the Ku Klux Klan, David Duke, declared that of all presidential candidates, Trump is “the best of the lot”. Khan received still greater appreciation. He was nominated by the TTP as their representative to last year’s (cancelled) peace talks, the reward for leading massive “peace” marches protesting American drones. Resolutely refusing to condemn any Taliban atrocity, Khan would seek to shift the blame on the US.

Worshipful followers love aggressive leaders. Trump, said to be the most abrasive politician in American history, uses barbs and insults while Khan menacingly swings his cricket bat. Use of indecent language invites no penalties. Last month, Trump crudely remarked that Fox anchor Megyn Kelly, who had aggressively confronted him in a CNN interview, had “Blood coming out of her eyes. Blood coming out of her wherever.” Khan went yet further. From the top of his dharna container, he screamed that a panicking Nawaz Sharif had wetted his shalwar.

Why do such leaders attract followers? First, each can confidently claim that he is his own man, a top-of-his-game type. He can convincingly label political rivals as midgets, corrupt, or incompetent (Khan’s job is easier than Trump’s). The self-made Trump earned a fortune through real-estate business and now owns acres of expensive Manhattan land. His personal worth, though modest on the scale of today’s billionaires, is around $4 billion.

Khan too is self-made. He ranks as one of the world’s best cricket professionals who could bat, bowl, and captain. His cancer hospital is a model of professional management and an important public service, even if his contribution pales before that of Abdus Sattar Edhi.

A second reason: both men are unabashed narcissists. But shouldn’t this turn people off rather than on? In normal life narcissism is considered a personality disorder, but not so in politics. Exceptionally vain and self-absorbed men, who see themselves as deserving attention and power, are often the winners in political contests. Explaining this anomaly is a challenge for those who study group psychology.

A recent issue of Harvard Business Review carries an article intriguingly titled, ‘Why we love narcissists’. The author, Prof Tomas Premuzic of University College London, summarises recent research in psychology that explains how narcissists get ahead in all domains of life. Premuzic distinguishes between “productive narcissists” like Steve Jobs and Bill Gates, who actually created great new industries, with “charismatic narcissists” who use charm to push personal agendas.

Charismatic narcissists, says Premuzic, are masterful impression managers. They dress to impress, disguise arrogance as confidence, and are superb social networkers. Convinced they are never wrong, they take credit whenever things go well. But when things go awry, they blame colleagues and subordinates. Pre­muzic notes that “It is always easier to fool others when you have already fooled yourself; it is always harder to feel guilty when you think you are innocent.”

Even with wild schemes, the charismatic narcissist can whip up enormous enthusiasm. Trump has vowed to build a wall along the US southern border with Mexico, likening it to the Great Wall of China and has even dubbed it “The Great Wall of Trump”. What he doesn’t know — and doesn’t want to know — is that even the Ming Dynasty’s 13,000-mile wall failed to keep out the Manchurians.

Khan’s ideas make even Trump’s hare-brained schemes look tame. Once I’m in power, Khan declared, I will end corruption in 19 days and terrorism in 90 days. The 19 was subsequently changed to 90; the need for an additional 71 days remained unexplained. But let’s put that aside. It’s now 887 days since Khan’s PTI took over the reins of the KP province. The end of corruption and terrorism should be nigh, right? But don’t hold your breath.

To conclude: charismatic narcissists are much hot air but very little substance. Unfortunately, they can be very dangerous. If running a country they can take it to war, waste resources, and increase internal violence. On the other hand, real leadership requires building high performance teams, emphasising altruism over egotism, and competence over confidence. Until the public understands this, it will continue inviting narcissists to the top while overlooking more reasonable alternatives.

The writer teaches physics in Lahore and Islamabad.

Published in Dawn, September 19th, 2015

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The views expressed by this writer and commenters below do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of the Dawn Media Group.

Comments (191) Closed

Akram Sep 19, 2015 01:52am

So the Sharifs and Zardaris are better choices?

Gulraiz Sep 19, 2015 01:54am

Spot on!

yarana Sep 19, 2015 02:12am

Most amazing writing I have ever read.

Thank you sir,


Simla Sep 19, 2015 02:15am

Add Generals to your list of narcissistic men.

Sheraz Khan Sep 19, 2015 02:22am

I respect Dr Hoodbhoy a lot and i really enjoy his articles, however i have been let down a bit by this one. Although the characteristics mentioned in the article can be found in Imran khan, however i would like to request him to name any pakistani politician (political party leaders) who doesn't fulfill the criteria highlighted by him.

Although Imran khan can behave like a nut job in quite a few scenarios, however i do feel that he is sincere and some of his suggestions (such as focus on education, taxation, electoral process and local government) are valid and have not been highlighted in the way he is doing it. The mere fact if he is able to achieve the above mentioned aims when he actually comes to power is something that needs to be seen.

P.S I am not a blind supporter of any political party.

Raman Sep 19, 2015 02:26am

A great article by Prof. Hoodbhoy- an astute observer in Pakistani politics. There is another word that comes to my mind when characterizing these politicians and those charlatans!

Syed Ganga Din Sep 19, 2015 02:33am

Imran Khan is nowhere near Trump. Let's get that straight. What is Imran Khan once you take the cricket out?

Malveros Sep 19, 2015 02:34am

Fantastic article. A must read for PTI enthusiasts.

W. G. Sheikh Sep 19, 2015 02:34am

Doc. you have hit the nail on the head. Just to add a few more - charismatic narcissists are also infested with deep contradictions. For example, they would claim to be honest souls but would surround themselves with highly corrupt cohorts; they would show care for the poor but live like maharajahs and love to hob nob with who's who of the upper echelon; their lives would be all fun and partying but would support fundamentalists ideas and life style; and so on.

Arifq Sep 19, 2015 02:47am

Khan the narcissists but he is not corrupt, this is what Khan fan base will have to say!

sa Sep 19, 2015 02:47am


I'm always right Sep 19, 2015 02:55am

Except for the fact that in the US, they have alternatives to Donald Trump whereas in Pakistan, we don't have alternatives to IK

Sep 19, 2015 03:52am

The author is so obviously an unbiased observer of Pakistani politics!!!

Vittal Sep 19, 2015 03:58am

Democrats like me are hoping that Trump will be the GOP presidential nominee in 2016 elections. Hillary will easily trump the Trump.

S S Sidhu Sep 19, 2015 04:02am

As always a very enlightening article. But it is disheartening to see so many people flocking to them. This kind of shakes up your faith human race.

Jalaluddin S. Hussain Sep 19, 2015 04:04am

While I agree with Prof. Hoodbhoy. I sincerely feel that all the political leaders, of whatever stripe, should be allowed to "play" freely.

The important thing is that the Pakistan Army should be encouraged to play the "defence" game only and must not be allowed to enter the arena of politics.

They are the servants of the nation and not their masters!

Sami Sep 19, 2015 04:17am

Wow! You know what I am thinking and you express it so beautifully! :-)

Bairooni Haath Sep 19, 2015 04:31am

You nailed it, Dr. Hoodbhoy!

A Knight's Tail Sep 19, 2015 04:42am

Very apt comparison. You just spoiled 'our Donald Trump''s breakfast :)

Manish Desai Sep 19, 2015 05:38am

I disagree. Imran Khan is a man of his own accomplishments while Mr. Trump was gifted $300MM worth of assets by his father in the early seventies and would have arrived at the same net worth if he had invested the same money in stocks.

Gurpreet Singh Sabharwal (USA) Sep 19, 2015 05:40am

One difference: I can say with certainty that Trump will not become the President of the US but Imran Khan may very well become the PM of Pakistan in the next elections.

JS Sheikh Sep 19, 2015 07:04am

Thats what I thought but cant put that in writing. Khan and Trump are cut from the same cloth. And my bet is that they both will hate each other.

Iman Sep 19, 2015 07:24am

@Akram Probably yes

Secular Indian Sep 19, 2015 07:25am

Unfortunately majority of the world's citizens are ignorant and are desperate to make a living, they gravitate towards such narcissists because they believe only a crazy miracle maker will be able to change their situation. Otherwise no sane person would go after such crazy people?

Muzaffar Ali Sep 19, 2015 08:01am

Imran Khan is not trigger happy, nor is he corrupt......I can't say the same about Trump.

Nor is Imran Khan a all know Trumps stand on this issue.

think_then_speak Sep 19, 2015 09:03am

Good analysis. Leadership from any source is explained to masses as sum of the stuff that is abundant in narcissists. Media and education play a role in making good sense prevail. Thank you for sharing with us this insightful analysis of leaders and followers in Pakistan.

SFA Sep 19, 2015 09:08am

@Akram Any day!

Burjor Rustomji Sep 19, 2015 09:11am

Pakistan like any other nation, gets the leaders it deserves. Is there really a difference between, Zardari, Shariff, Khan, Hussain and countless others, who wish to think they are "leaders". When this nation becomes educated, resourceful, self sufficient, law abiding, then we will have good leaders, because the nation will be by and large a stable nation. Until then, we have what we have.

Fedup Sep 19, 2015 09:16am

Thank you, Professor! At last someone has the courage to expose this fake. Pakistan's soil is fertile for this kind of politicians - he's no different.

I m Serious Sep 19, 2015 09:23am

best choice for now

Akib Sep 19, 2015 09:36am

@Sheraz Khan his focus is getting into power. His focus hasn't been acted upon just talked about A lot.

json Sep 19, 2015 09:53am

Trump is not self-made.

Gulraiz Sep 19, 2015 09:55am

@Sheraz Khan Well, he is in power in KP. What has he done? Has he achieved any of the objectives you mentioned in your comment?

talat haque Sep 19, 2015 10:09am

So good ! :)

br. Mouzone Sep 19, 2015 10:14am

Very inaccurate comparison.

Raza Akhtar Sep 19, 2015 10:15am

So what are these more reasonable alternatives? Is it Zardari, Nawaz or maybe some other corrupt party?

The government in KPK has made tremendous progress in reducing corruption, yes it has taken more time but things are moving in the right direction compared to the other "reasonable" alternates who considered corruption a birth right.

Mudasser Sep 19, 2015 10:16am

That's calling spade a spade

Mirza Sep 19, 2015 10:29am

Doc I think Trump is far better and more successful and is spending his riches and not living of other people's money. Despite all his faults Trump has always worked hard and made lots of money all by himself and is supporting all his kids with the best education and upbringing. He is in total control of his life and affairs and does not depend upon anybody that is why some people like him a lot.

BTW I am liberal and would not even think about voting for Trump or any other right winger. However truth must be told and facts cannot change.

shahid Ali Sep 19, 2015 10:37am

And how public will understand???

mirza Sep 19, 2015 10:44am

@Akram No, thats why people want to vote for him for a change not because they thin he would be any better.

mirza Sep 19, 2015 10:45am

@Sheraz Khan You think Nawaz Shareef is not sincere?. I wont include zardari in that list, though.

sajjad Ur Rehman Sep 19, 2015 10:45am

@Sheraz Khan read this little news article from a local newspaper. u will come to know how good IK has done in education sector in Chitral

Immy Sep 19, 2015 11:00am

@Akram No they are not, but why change bad to worst.

khurram Niazi Sep 19, 2015 11:16am

@Syed Ganga Din IK is a patriot, No corruption scandals. Better think before commenting

Khaled Sep 19, 2015 11:19am

The analogy is aptly correct.

Mahmud Sep 19, 2015 11:25am

Donald trump , if elected , we will have so much winning , you will get bored with winning

Imran khan , change is not coming , change is here !

HADc Sep 19, 2015 11:32am

@Syed Ganga Din

What's Donald Trump once you take the Real estate away?

Nadeem Sep 19, 2015 11:33am

The two - Imran and Trump - may be similar, but their circumstances are very different. In the case of Trump, everyone knows that after providing some entertainment he will fall by the wayside long before election. Reason being that America is still a well-run country with plenty of men and women offering good leadership. So the voters will not indulge in acts of desperation on polling day. But in Pakistan, for millions upon millions, the situation is exactly that: desperate. So they can be expected to react desperately and vote for anyone who makes undeliverable promises such as 'I'll finish this evil in X days, and the other evil in Y days'.

Naxalite Sep 19, 2015 11:43am

Donald Trump : USA's Imran Khan!

BK Shar Sep 19, 2015 11:47am

I am a silent admirer of Prof. Hoodbhoy and read all his articles and curiously wait for the next. This is very interesting and thoughtful article... excellent description of narcissism, and so of narcissist who are rampant in our society, I have ever read. Prof. Hoodbhoy has focused on two characters due to the requirement of article. It is very much accurately described that since a majority of youth is half educated therefore can get exploited easily even by a mid level egoist.... a must read ...

Nasir Sep 19, 2015 11:50am

I agree with every other thing discussed in it. Great article

ijaz Sep 19, 2015 11:51am

All the great personality in the history were charismatic at least they have shaken the world or respective societies. Its inherited characteristics other wise the person would be expose. After ZAB we have seen charismatic characteristics in IK. In his case at least he has shaken the status quo successfully which is eroding our country in every aspect. During IK stay in cricket he has shown his charisma.

Mohsin Mansur Sep 19, 2015 11:53am

Trump is not a self-made man. He inherited his fortune from his father and his earnings would've been far higher had he just invested the money in the S&P 500. Make of that what you will.

malik butta Sep 19, 2015 11:54am

While I agree Trump will be bad news for the US, and keeping IK out of the discussion, one doesn't have to be a perfect human being to excel in life. Many of the greats, Wagner and Dostoevsky, just to name a couple were pretty nasty individuals. Humans are a very complex creation and it is an uphill task to clearly categorize them like objects. That said, I enjoyed reading the article.

Nisar Ahmad Sep 19, 2015 12:00pm

Well written exposing two fake leaders. I am sure neither Trump nor IK will ever win their top national slots. Our hopes from IK gone to drain with his support to Taliban,long illogical dharna damaging economy,abusing his opponents with bad names , frequently changing narratives,repeating again and again the winning of World Cup. He should know how many times Ponting has won World Cup ,but he never claimed premiership of Ausralia on this basis though there were five Prime Ministers in Australia in last five years.

kashif Sep 19, 2015 12:01pm

nailed it!

BK Shar Sep 19, 2015 12:03pm

I am a silent admirer of Prof Hoodbhoy. This is Very interesting and thoughtful article... excellent description of narcissism, and so of narcissist who are rampant in our society, I have ever read. Prof. Hoodbhoy has focused only on two characters due to the requirement of article. a must read ...

hamid Sep 19, 2015 12:05pm

no doubt khan is sincere with his country but he himself didt,t know what he have to do ? politics in intrest of nation should require patience and respect. he lashed out on others without knewing what he is saying ? youth took him as a hero so he should behave like a hero

tjd Sep 19, 2015 12:06pm

Even though I do not normally tend to agree with the author, however he has nailed it here - The analogy presented is perfect. Looking at khan's track record for the past 3 years or so, he is only hot air and little substance (as the author puts it).

somendra khosla Sep 19, 2015 12:07pm

as usual you have made my day. we need more of this from more people like you

Salman Tariq Sep 19, 2015 12:18pm

One very clear difference. Americans might have better choices, for Pakistanis the flawed Imran Khan might still be the best of the existing lot...

Sandeep Sep 19, 2015 12:20pm

This is another master stroke from the fertile brain of Dr.Hoodbhoy!! I have closely observed Donald Trump recently and through his programme 'Apprantice'. He is out and out narcissist promising grandiose schemes but lacking substance. These types of leaders can mesmerize and enthrall the audience but when it comes to delivery their performance is doubtful.

Malik Sep 19, 2015 12:28pm

@W. G. Sheikh Wow, perfectly described by you Mr W.G.

Fatima Sep 19, 2015 12:31pm

Sir, will you please mention the names of "more reasonable alternatives"??

M.A. Naveed Choudhry Sep 19, 2015 12:34pm

very well written article. keep it up Dr. Sahib!

Najeebullah Sep 19, 2015 12:51pm

Extremely well written, empty vessels make the most noise, that is what khan and triumph are.

Ram(The beautiful) Sep 19, 2015 01:05pm

Indians love you sir, because are most of the times unbiased and have a very keen intelligence to see the truth from falsehood and present the facts in a simple lucid manner.

Rahul Jain Sep 19, 2015 01:09pm

Wow, great similarities, instead I will call him Kejriwal instead of Trump, Kejri touched the low which even Trump cant.

Shakkoor bhai Sep 19, 2015 01:15pm

@Syed Ganga Din well, founder of pakistan's second largest political party.

Onkar Sharma Sep 19, 2015 01:24pm

@Akram He never implied that sharifs and Zardaris are better choices, but there´s none to pin your faith in.

SarfrazHussain Sep 19, 2015 01:32pm

ONLY sane and sensible can understand and buy this stuff.

Baber Khan Sep 19, 2015 01:47pm

@Gulraiz ------"achieved" yet? Perhaps not, but yes, he HAS started working on all those objectives and has shown significant improvement in sectors of 'education', 'health' and 'police reform'!

Mansoor Sep 19, 2015 02:06pm

well written

Parvez Sep 19, 2015 02:06pm

This is an article written by an intelligent man designed to play on the emotions and paucity of knowledge of the common man ...... and you shy away from answering the million dollar question ' If not Imran than who ?'.........Yes he is flawed but kindly answer @Akram question in the first comment.

Prof Ilyas Khan Sep 19, 2015 02:22pm

IMRAN KHAN IS better than all the lot in Pakistan.

Cyrus Sep 19, 2015 02:32pm

@Akram ... The Sharifs are better choices. Imran Khan does not know how to handle money or how to gauge foreign policy. President Obama would like to know, "What's cricket? I've heard of that."

Tariq Sep 19, 2015 02:37pm

respect you Author.. Only you can tell the truth to trolls.

Cyrus Sep 19, 2015 02:46pm

@I ... The one thing both of them have is name recognition with the public. Imram was a cricketing hero and Trump starred in several of his own television reality shows running on a national network in "prime time" (after dinner). When Jimmy Carter ran for president very few people in America outside the state of Georgia knew who he was. Not many Americans had ever heard of Bill Clinton. Since then his wife has been running for political office on the Clinton name.

ejaz Sep 19, 2015 02:48pm

Very inaccurate analysis. Anyhow, these two people are completely different. Must say I expect better standards of writing from Dr. Hoodbhoy.

Cyrus Sep 19, 2015 02:51pm

@Vittal ... Hillary Clinton cannot win. This week more of her support from Democratic women has faded. Fundamentalist Christians and rural housewives don't want to vote for Bill Clinton as first Lady. Women vote for presidents' wives. They don't vote for presidents.

Talha Ejaz Sep 19, 2015 02:52pm

@Sheraz Khan spot on..

Muhammad Aman Sep 19, 2015 02:58pm

Thumbs up Dr. sa'ab. Dont know much abt Trump bt every word abt Khan is 100% right.

Rudaba Sep 19, 2015 03:09pm

@Nisar Ahmad Please quote references of all allegations you levelled against IK, or take your words back. Its easy to criticise than prove the point. Waiting for response

Inam Khan Sep 19, 2015 03:14pm

The author has tried to remain unbiased in his analysis, but on some occasions his words lost objectivity. Personally I didn't expect from Mr.Hoodbhoy, a putative progressive liberal, to being personal while commenting on IK's past (lavish lifestyle ). Also, he was being judgmental when he coined the term "charismatic narcissist" for Imran Khan. Who knows IK better than his cricket colleagues like Ramiz Raja, Wasim Akram, Miandad and others who publicly had said quite a many times that IK was confident and reserved. To them, he was a captain who used to lead from the front . As a politician he might have done some blunders, but I was bewildered when author said about "more reasonable alternatives". Seriously? Name a single politician who best fits upon the criteria author has given. Angels don't come from heaven here. Be realistic in your analysis.

Cyrus Sep 19, 2015 03:16pm

@json .... Of course he is. He made his billions in New York City real estate.

Harmony-1 Sep 19, 2015 03:33pm

@Inam Khan - Very well said!

Tariq, Lahore Sep 19, 2015 03:35pm

I normally do admire Mr Hoodbhoy's articles but this article is not his usual worth!

Sheraz Khan Sep 19, 2015 03:41pm

@Gulraiz Well, from what i have read from the news he has improved the state of police, as well as put focus on education in the budget.

The point is not about supporting Imran khan, all i am saying is that the above mentioned comparison is not by any means fair as majority of the characteristics mentioned by Prof Hoodbhoy can be found in leaders of other political parties. Sidelining Imran khan and comparing him with someone from the US political landscape is not fair as he is not being judged with respect to the other fish in the pond....

Pakistani Sep 19, 2015 04:01pm

Imran Khan is the only politician who's been calling for masses to unite against status quo and to drop ethnical differences, and you compare him to trump?

In defense of Imran Khan Sep 19, 2015 04:09pm

I respect Prof.Hoodhboy very much. However, I humbly beg to differ. Due to following three reasons a direct comparison between Donald Trump (DT) and Imran Khan (IK) is, in my opinion, not permissible:

  1. DT discriminates people on the basis of race, religion, sex, and skin color. IK has not done this up till now.

  2. DT is fighting an election in a country, where democracy and justice are well established. IK is politically fighting in a country, with a very weak and nascent democracy, and a very weak judicial system.

  3. IK is working hard to improve the political, economical, and social conditions of a third world country, with very few resources and a large debt (we would need many decades to pay these debts back!!). DT has not to cope with these difficulties.

To err is human. No doubt, IK has made mistakes. But he is honest, not corrupt, and sincere to serve the people of this poor country. - I am not a member of PTI.

Dilectus Sep 19, 2015 04:46pm

Instead of pointing out the deficiencies of the government of the time our great writer criticising opposition

Zeeshan Sep 19, 2015 04:52pm

He criticized IK after APS attack and now he is doing the same after Badaber attack. None of these attacks are due to the policies of IK. It due to the regional conflicts which happen for the last 35 years after USSR invasion of Afghanistan. In this period PPP, PMLN and military governments were at the hilm of affairs. So they are responsible for it not IK.

SAP Sep 19, 2015 04:54pm

@Inam Khan excellent, angels will not come

JD Sep 19, 2015 05:17pm

Hoodboy: disappointing article

Imran Sep 19, 2015 05:27pm

It seems personal vendetta against IK which I did not expect from this liberal author. There is no comparison,,,, DT just became politician and needs attention to be president within a year while IK is struggling in politics for 18 years.

Nia Sep 19, 2015 05:30pm

Great Analysis!!!!

Prasad Sep 19, 2015 05:39pm

Though I understand the lack of comfort for most liberals around Trump, he is speaking straight-talk that average American wants to hear from the politicians. He is not mincing his words, he is not flip-flopping and he admits his mistakes publicly to move on.

Will he be a right President for US? Time will tell... Nobody is ever ready to take any particular office. You grow into that role over time.

Premuzic's description seems to be the 'entry' criteria for politicians around the world!

javedbozdar Sep 19, 2015 05:46pm

we can say Donald Trump is Imran Khan of america!!!!!!!!!!!!

Munir Kakar Sep 19, 2015 05:55pm

Brilliant as always. I personally have respect for IK as player and as a philanthropist. But i am at my wits end to distinguish his political worldview from that of Ch. Shujat Hussain or that of Samiulhaq. I wonder as to how he always extended his political muscle to Taliban but then an abrupt 180 degree turn when operation was started. He has yet to explain this political somersault. I am at pains to get around the fact as to how an Oxford-educated could be so conservative even ready to embrace Taliban. He should have been leading from the front rather than from behind,

Gramscian Sep 19, 2015 06:01pm

@ Munir Kakar IK did not embrace Taliban. He called for negotiations to resolve the protracted conflict. And that too with those Taliban who were willing to negotiate.

You may disagree with his stance, but that does not imply love for Taliban. Also, all other major political parties had the same view.

Last, in the end, you will have to have a political settlement of the conflict after Taliban are crushed as happened with Tamils in Sri Lanka.

Jehanzeb Naeem Khan Sep 19, 2015 06:02pm

No one will understand the brilliance of this article, let alone our angry young men.

Human Sep 19, 2015 06:19pm

Excellent analysis, but aravind kejriwal is not behind these two and a must addition to group.

Jaysekhar Sep 19, 2015 06:24pm

One very sane and sagacious person .I wish him luck

ratan mia Sep 19, 2015 06:30pm

Great Article by Prof. Perfect narration of the commonness. Thanks Prof.

Secular Pathan Sep 19, 2015 06:30pm

Imran Khan and PTI are sadly Right Wing phenomenons. We must stay away from anything related to right wing. This is actually a power struggle between right wing forces in Pakistan. The left wing liberals have been completely sidelined or silenced.

We want a Secular Democratic Welfare Republic of Pakistan.

Imran Siddiqui Sep 19, 2015 06:33pm

Remember, majority rules in a democracy. Imran Khan is the most popular and respected politician of Pakistan. Regardless of your article, history will remember Imran Khan as a leader and savior of Pakistan.

TANVIR Sep 19, 2015 06:55pm

I live in US and I know Trump very well. I am also a Pakistani and know Imran since he was a crickter. No match between these two. Trump will disappear from the horizon in next few months or in a year but not IK. Make sure I am not a fan of IK.

Yasir Sep 19, 2015 07:00pm

This is the most illogical piece I have ever read from Dr. Hoodbhoy.

Pervez khan Sep 19, 2015 07:02pm

Every one in Pakistan seems to forget their real profession. Hate to see politicians without a real manifesto and sound ideology. Imran for sure is backed by emotional youth but what options do they have? Personally I believe calling our future as burger bachas is unfair. W

AQ Sep 19, 2015 07:03pm

Has Hoodbhoy written anything about Nawaz who is in government for third time with zero performance? Why targeting the only opposition party.

Umair Virk Sep 19, 2015 07:08pm

@Syed Ganga Din , What is Imran Kahn if you take Shaukat Khanum Hospital (only of its kind in Pak) out? What is Imran Khan if you take the KPK reforms out? What is Imran Khan if you take NUML College out? What is Imran Khan if you discredit him for raising awareness among the forgotten youth and bring them to the political scen? What is Imran Khan if you take away the fact that he has not nominated a heir? What is Imran Khan if you discredit him for establishing the first and the only democratic party of Pakistan? What is Imran Khan if you take away his courage to oppose West's policies by looking in their eyes?

Imran Sep 19, 2015 07:09pm

This is extremely disappointing article by Dr. Hoodbhoy. How can he draw an analogy between IK and Donald Trump. DT has done all his life everything for himself. On the other hand IK has done all his life everything for his country and people. Even his fiercest enemies cannot deny this fact.

The Morning Star Sep 19, 2015 07:21pm

I disagree with your assessment of Imran as a cricketer. He is not one of the best he is the greatest ever, and this is why. 1. The greatest ever cricketer must be an all rounder. 2. Must also be a Captain. When you apply these two criteria Imran easily tops the likes of Sobers, Lara, Holding, Gavaskar,Kapil, Bradman, Lillee, Ponting,Kallis, Styn,and Amla, and Shakib. 3. Imran has contributed to cricketer in other ways too, as a writer and commentator and innovator (neutral umpires). 4. His name and fame and impact on the country and around the world is more than any of his competitors. He is indeed the greatest ever cricketer.

Khizr Sep 19, 2015 07:46pm

In my opinion, self promotion is a leadership quality that today's leaders and professionals have to adopt. Trump and all other hopefuls are in the same boat. You would think Nawaz, MQM, and Zardari would be humble and be elected on merit? The electoral system will always require these leaders to exploit some weekness of the people. A very average article from a great mind.

Ibrar Sep 19, 2015 07:50pm

Superb article from a dignified and courageous writer. Imran Khan will be a bad experiment and a nightmare for the nation if ever put in power. We may not have had many credible leaders to rule us but he appears to have all the ingredients of an incompetent leader who could bring anarchy and chaos in the country. He promises to eliminate corruption without elaborating on how he will achieve that. But even if one believes he is an honest man we know honesty alone is not enough to steer a nation towards progress.

Kamran Sep 19, 2015 07:52pm

Excellent article!

Jami Khan Sep 19, 2015 07:56pm

A delight to read. Looks like both Trump and Khan following the same

Abdul Muqtadir Sep 19, 2015 08:00pm

Dr. Hoodbhoy thanks for writing this article.You wrote two reasons of the rising of Imran Khan while comparing with Trump. The third reason you missed that is NOT common between Khan & Trump is that Imran is getting help, as suspected, from agencies for his rise. The sudden success at Lahore Jalsa after a long time I & ME only membership of the PTI, .

independentthinker Sep 19, 2015 08:22pm

So, what is the alternate? If Imran Khan is not qualified to run Pakistan, then who is? I think Reagan said it right - when he said politics was the second oldest profession and personally, he said he doesn't see any difference between the two. I am not a great admirer of Imran Khan - however, comparing him to Donald Trump is a bit too much. Imran Khan left the U.K. and life of luxury, to come back to Pakistan.

Ahad Sep 19, 2015 09:18pm

Excellent article - agree with you 100%

Abdul Muqtadir Sep 19, 2015 09:24pm

It is unfortunate that Pakistan lacks political leaders rising from grass root work and the power of the common citizens. So far the civilian leadership we se is Z. Bhutto, Nawaz Sharif, Altaf Husain and now Imran Khan.

Mahmood Sep 19, 2015 10:04pm

Now the hate mail will start coming from even the most ardent of your followers. Not surprisingly the first comment was, are sharifs and zardaris a better choice??

Oh, have you joined PML N because that will soon be aaaumed.

Junaid awan Sep 19, 2015 10:12pm

Narcissism defined by someone who is a physicist?? Funny and please Mr hoodbhoy stick to physics.. And thanks for lecturing us that Zardaris and shareefs are what we should always have.

Naveed Sep 19, 2015 10:17pm

@Sheraz Khan We have lost the ability to rationalize our political leadership, it does not matter where we live thought process is the same.

AA Sep 19, 2015 10:19pm

Pervez Sahib very well written Imran Sahib and Trump both are useless

Ajay vikram Singh Sep 19, 2015 10:25pm

Well, Trump has been out-GOPing the GOP, and they cant do a thing about it. He has hijacked their narrative and taken it to moronic extremes. I believe, he is a Trojan horse. So Hillary Clinton is going to be the next president of USA, and then God save us all. Specially, Pakistan.

About Imran khan, is idealistic, up to the extent of being impractical. But that doesnt make others in politics any better. The worst thing, you can do to Imran is to give him a chance. He will have to live up to his billing or become irrelevant. My only concern would be his dogmatic and fundamentalist views on certain aspects. I guess, he doesnt even know that "Khan" surname comes from a Mongol word "Kahn", which means gang-leader. Like Genghis Kahn (not khan). The same mongols who had ended the 'golden age of Islam', by decimating Abbasid Caliphate, burning all its cities and making mountains of skulls, by killing many millions. Does he know that?

Abal Sep 19, 2015 10:27pm

Both of the them live and thrive on foolishness of common gullible people. Americans have big problems with normal behaviour. Also the same with us Pakistanis. How can a rational person accept these two jokers as their leaders? In USA the right is always intellectually backward, glaring examples being the tea party members. In Pakistan every one is so tired with dynasty politics, they would embrace anyone-even a play boy. I dont think honestly Trump will win, the jokers are good only during the circus time. And i also dont think IK will ever be able to be the PM of this country, at least there are some rational people left in pakistan.

vivek Sep 19, 2015 10:39pm

@Burjor Rustomji sir as long as military having control over foreign and security policy in it's hand nothing is going to change

Larkanavi Sep 19, 2015 10:46pm

You are dead wrong. This Pakistani Trump is a thousand time better than the likes of Zardaris and Nawaz Sharifs. So please wait and see. Time will prove you wrong.

vivek Sep 19, 2015 10:46pm

sir i have a great respect for you and your rationalist views in a orthodox religious dominated country. Just imagine if Donald Trump really becomes the prez of US. Then the combination Donald-Netanyahu-Modi in the future will be ?

Shahnawaz Sep 19, 2015 11:13pm

I hope Dr. Sahib will spare some time to tell us about the more reasonable alternatives, who they are? may be in his next article, I am admirer of his writings, but this comparison,I simply do not buy it.

M.A Jumah Sep 19, 2015 11:16pm

Don't think Trump can do that kind of Bhangra dance.

Shakeel Sep 19, 2015 11:27pm

A great article- very true and fact based . Thanks Dr. Hoodbhoy

Tariq Ahsan Sep 19, 2015 11:44pm

Trump has no positive achievement in any field , but Imran Khan has excelled in cricket, and done very good work as a creative philanthropist in health and education. Use of abusive language is the main similarity between Imran and Trump. Hope the exaggerated comparison in this article will inspire Imran to rethink the style of confrontational politics that he's embarked upon.

Faraz Sep 20, 2015 12:15am

Awesome column.The writer is a genius.Salute to you sir.Each and every word of this article is precious and very correct.Amazing

Zak Sep 20, 2015 12:23am

@Jehanzeb Naeem Khan so you understood it well when its in your favour wow

M S Sheikh Sep 20, 2015 01:39am

@Akram Sharifs yes but Zardaris no.

From USA S.A. HYDER, Ph.D. Sep 20, 2015 01:57am

A great article, once again. Unfortunately the charismatic narcissists are the one who fool the electorate and the enormous enthusiasm they build ultimately ends up winning. More than likely because the electorate is stupid, be it in Pakistan or America. In democracy, he who can fool the most, wins. And it does not take much intelligence to fool the masses. Recently there was a cartoon in the papers here that showed conversation between a presumed President Mr. Trump and his chief of staff. It went somewhat like this. This is the Chief-of-Staff telling the President: Sir the economy is in shambles, the unemployment is way up, the stock market has collapsed, Americans do not have jobs and are migrating to Mexico. Mexico has decided to build a wall on the border and China has offered to pay for it. To which the charismatic narcissists President replies " Aha, See what I have been claiming all along, that I will make China pay for the border wall".

NAZ Sep 20, 2015 02:03am

there is no comparisson----IK is honest, Pak loving person who wants to correct lot of wrong doings.He educated rhe public who were never intersted in voting,specially the youth of the country-----it will take time to train people to be honest as most people are corrupt and bribe is taken as a gift.

Trump has real estate and beauty contests etc etc so IK and Trump cannot be compared.

NAZ Sep 20, 2015 02:04am

@Gulraiz ----noooooooo

NAZ Sep 20, 2015 02:12am

@ why comparring IK with Trump??????????IK is much better !!!!!!!!!!!!

NAZ Sep 20, 2015 02:15am

@JS Sheikh ----IK is not an opportunist do not compare with Trump.

Adil Jadoon Sep 20, 2015 02:29am

@Syed Ganga Din a true leader which is more then any of his opponents can ever hope to be!

faheem Sep 20, 2015 02:32am

in the struggle for survival only those people are live who are strong, no material thing can make a nation strong the strength of a nation depends on its individual. serving humanity at it best need no khan or trump. what matters most is pure unification .

Rabi Sep 20, 2015 02:52am

Let me correct you. Imran Khan is better than Mr. Trump. And Mr. Trump can be the Imran Khan if USA. Imran is a leader he have lead in past his team to glory. Trump havent done that yet.

Abdul Muqtadir Sep 20, 2015 02:53am

@Junaid awan A person who has doctorate in as hard subject as Physics is smart and other subjects then are piece of cake. Moreover it is good to be all round.I am a Civivil/ Structural Engineer and see my above comments.

Shan Sep 20, 2015 02:55am

Excellent contribution by Dr. Sahib. Nations rise to new heights due to her teachers and I am 100% convinced that Pakistan is destined to rise since we have teachers like him.

Fazal Karim Sep 20, 2015 03:43am

We have tried PPP and PML(N) several times and disappointed. We should give chance to a third party.

Sajid Syed Sep 20, 2015 04:44am

Trump is right on immigration and Muslims. Muslims living in North America and Europe are different. The ones who migrated in near past still talk and miss Pakistan, Somalia, Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, Tunisia, Morocco, Iran and Nigeria, but the older generation does not want more Muslims to come from hotbeds. Answer lies in common sense. Any country ruled by disciplined and focused Whites have progressed and the moment the demographic shift comes, the country start drifting south, socially, politically, economically, religiously and conflict becomes every day challenge. Khan cannot be compared to Trump. Both are arrogant and authoritative but Khan has religious bigot while Trump is a racial bigot.

Myth Sep 20, 2015 06:16am

@Sheraz Khan how much tax did he pay? Where are the proves of all the allegations. I voted for ik but will never vote again. The problem is not what other do . The issue is Y ik is turning into a fool

The Morning Star Sep 20, 2015 07:27am

@Ajay vikram Singh : Kahn is a Jewish name and probably from German ancestory. Khan is indeed the title of a Mongol Chief. Tamujin retained the title of Genghis Khan even when he had united all the Mongol tribes (including the Tartars),under his banner. All Mongol Rulers (many were Kings),preferred the title of a Khan, even his grandson Kubli Khan who was the Emperor of China. The more famous Halaku Khan( a first cousin of Kubli Khan), the man who destroyed Baghdad never called himself a Prince or a King. Just to be a Khan of the Mongols is a big enough deal. His children accepted Islam and ruled over Central Asia and Iran and the last Mongol ruler was the Khan of Crimea who lost his throne to the Russians. But there was a time when the Khan of Ashtrakhan appointed the Duke of Moscow as his tax collector. Oh, how the mighty have fallen. The Turko-Mongol influence was hugh. Even the Brits recognised it and gave the title of Khan Bahadur and Rai Bahadur (Bahadur being a Mongol word).

Seminoles Sep 20, 2015 07:54am

First of all, Congress will not allow Donald Trump to build anywhere because the current debt of the United States stands at around 18 trillion dollars which is a lot, trust me. Second, you cannot compare Donald Trump to Imran Khan. Why? Because Donald Trump is clear on his policies. He does not "alter" his policies to preserve the status quo like Imran Khan. Furthermore, comparing the politicians of the west to our politicians is a waste of time. That is because political systems in the west demand action from their leaders while South Asian government structures require money. This article is not your best.

Akthar Sep 20, 2015 08:01am

First Class Article. I didn't knew much about narcissm to I read this article. Very informative.

Adam K Sep 20, 2015 09:38am

@Jalaluddin S. Hussain But only in robust democracies. Trump ain't gonna be President.

Anwar Sep 20, 2015 12:52pm

Sadly, no better choice is available in Pakistan at present. I would suggest for Asghar Khan or Jamate Islami if they can change their thoughts a little.

UT Sep 20, 2015 01:31pm!

Zulfiqar Sep 20, 2015 02:53pm

@yarana Dear Copy it and Translate it by google Translater in Urdu..

Alli Sep 20, 2015 03:32pm

I think that Modi is all that personified. Great article. Q is why do people r befooled so easily again and again and again

Arshad Sep 20, 2015 07:01pm

Respected sir you build your argument against Khan as if the country were replete with leaders of high calibre and this narcissist was misleading us with his hollow promises. The man might have his shortcomings but can you really put your finger on one man who can match his integrity? All said, its not his psychological constitution that should bother us so much as what he intends to do for the country. And his govt in kp, political bias apart, has not done all that badly.

Arshad Sep 20, 2015 07:03pm

Respected sir you build your argument against Khan as if the country were replete with leaders of high calibre and this narcissist was misleading us with his hollow promises. The man might have his shortcomings but can you really put your finger on one man who can match his integrity? All said, its not his psychological constitution that should bother us so much as what he intends to do for the country. And his govt in kp, political bias apart, has not done all that badly.

Ibrar Sep 20, 2015 08:59pm

@independentthinker It is nothing to do with his past life which makes him unsuitable to lead us. It is more to do with his arrogance and his belief that once put in power he is going to get everything in order. And the danger is if he can not come up to his promises he would,like any previous leaders, blame others for his failures...or God forbid distract the nation by doing something terrible.

Ibrar Sep 20, 2015 09:39pm

@Abal Hooray ! Completely agree with you. Unfortunately we have frustrated and politically naive youth who can be easily indoctrinated and misled .

Mustafa Imam Sep 20, 2015 10:14pm

@Raman what is Donald trump if you take his flourished real-estate business out? Although my stance is neutral towards IK and Donald trump; your Comment lacked a common sense we all have hence it called out for an answer

Elahi Bakhsh Sep 20, 2015 10:43pm

First of all we dont have alternatives as against IK secondly IK is not only charismatic narcissist but productive narcissist aswell, his achievements and works for the nation are enormous, if u look at everyone from psychological point of view then there is no one normal here, lets face it

Akhtar Ali Khan Sep 20, 2015 11:42pm


Actually, PPP and PML (N) are relatively better than PTI, which did nothing and accomplished nothing. Also, the biggest blunder PTI committed was to form the KPK government with the help of JI (which should be banned in Pakistan, along with religious madrassas).

Idrees Sep 21, 2015 12:49am

The hundreds of commentaries that Imran's entry into politics have caused have not been seen for Bilawal, Humza Shahbaz or Maryum Nawaz why? Perhaps because we are used to dynasty politics. If someone enters to politics riding on the shoulders of powers that be even that would not deserve commentaries. The reason is we are used to such things. Imran's entry was unexpected and this is what makes people comment. Many intellectuals and professionals might feel if he can make it, why not me. Secondly whenever we think of Imran we feel the necessity of comparing him with an angel who can do now wrong. My question is if it's Imran Vs Nawaz, or Imran Vs Zradari or Imran vs Bilawal what people should choose?

hud hud Sep 21, 2015 01:25am

Google search and read `FBI's profile of Imran Khan'.

Deepak Sareen Sep 21, 2015 01:27am

Hoodhbhoy is immensely readable and incisive; as always!

NT Sep 21, 2015 06:23am

Imran Khan is not noble nor is he a great leader like he aspires to. He makes blunders on a regular basis and sometimes he disappoints with his errant behavior. Having said that I believe this is not a fair comparison and an attempt

Ahad Khan Sep 21, 2015 08:20am

Could not agree with him more. Hopefully for both nations such people will not come to power.

Ahad Khan Sep 21, 2015 08:21am

Could not agree more, such an accurate parallel between the two. Hopefully for my former homeland and my current homeland, such people will not come to power.

Dipak Dasgupta Sep 21, 2015 09:54am

Imran thinks captaining a cricket team and governing a country are the same thing. He comes from a feudal background and if he becomes the PM he will be a dictator.

Mustafa Sep 21, 2015 10:19am

@Akhtar Ali Khan;

'better than PTI, which did nothing and accomplished nothing'

Even if PTI accomplished nothing it is better than the status quo. One who didn't do anything is better than a criminal.

Haider Sep 21, 2015 02:38pm

Bravo Sir!

Z Sep 21, 2015 03:09pm

You may not know Donald well enough but that cannot be true about IK. Even the act of comparison is disservice to Pakistan, I mean pro PTI or anti PTI people, it does not matter.

I am once again disappointed.

Z Sep 21, 2015 03:14pm

Can you name a single 'political leader' in Pakistan that is better than IK on all the counts you have considered here? And you believe is not in politics to make money and is to serve the nation? 90 days or 900 days?

Z Sep 21, 2015 03:19pm

@Gulraiz "he is in power in KP. What has he done?" please check with Khyber people. Or visit for yourself.

Z Sep 21, 2015 03:28pm

@Cyrus "The Sharifs are better choices. Imran Khan does not know how to handle money "

then is not Zardari even better?

you deserved it.

Ali Zaib Sep 21, 2015 03:32pm

Another very good read. As someone pointed out in the comment, It will be great if the same article is translated in urdu and get published in urdu newspapers as well.

I've a question though, Do we have any better option than Imran Khan ?

Ashfaq Sep 21, 2015 04:52pm

I have been closely following the careers of both Donald Trump and Imran Khan. This piece reads as if Mr. Hoodbhoy has stolen my personal thoughts. He has hit the nail on the head. Great job sir.

Rashid Sep 21, 2015 05:27pm

HoodBhoy awesome, only you can write something like this. Hope both USA and Pakistani people reject a narcissist for good and forever.

Tanweer Sep 21, 2015 05:53pm

The writer should try to focus on teaching physics. His bias against religion is blinding, making him unfit for political commentary.

MAK Sep 21, 2015 06:17pm

Very interesting analysis by Michael Kugelman "Is Imran Khan really Pakistan's Donald Trump?" in which Kugelman rubbishes Hoodboy - worth reading

Syed Zafar Kazmi U.S.A Sep 21, 2015 06:36pm

Just as ever, Dr. hood bhoy comes up with great insights, acute analysis and irrefutable analogy. T o add my own penny, Mr. Khan has the same intense right wing extremism that Donald has as can be too often seen in his many sympathies with Taliban. He was the only politician who vociferously espoused for Taliban to be allowed to open offices across Pakistan, he persistently and severely criticized America for her drone attacks to eliminate Taliban and their hideouts, and lastly but not least he enjoys such trust and deep partnership of values and ideology with Taliban that they had appointed him as their negotiator with the government to bargain for their best interest. He is also on record for having said , right during the operation Zarb-e Azb, that were he in power he would have hired those very being bombed today in the armed forces of Pakistan. With such deep bonds and strong alliance with Taliban, can we imagine him eliminating Taliban and not instead strengthen them?

FS Sep 21, 2015 06:39pm

I typically enjoy Dr Hoodboys articles but this one is using broad strokes in an attempt to paint his thesis. Other than often making grand and ridiculous statements to get attention I think the similarities are very limited. Trump is a racist, born privileged showman who is capitalizing on topics that create anxiety for an avg white Christian American. Imran might make false and ridiculous claims but he is definitely a decent human being and has shown through actions his commitment to the less privileged. Lastly a remark such as his work pales in front of Edhi comes across as a low blow. If your research & achievements are less than an Abdus Salam should we hold you in low esteem?

Ikram Sep 21, 2015 07:15pm

The article is the mirror of the author's biased and narrow minded approach. If he would have once to get out of his cosy office in Islamabad and visit KPK, meet with people, see the improvement in the systems; then compare with other provinces, keep in mind that the party is in power for the first time; Mr Writer would have written a different article on this man called Imran Khan.

Mustafa Sep 21, 2015 09:06pm


'His bias against religion is blinding, making him unfit for political commentary'

All political commentators have bias including you and me. He has a right to his opinion, this is not India, this is not Germany where you can go to jail from questioning holocaust.

Dr. Aman Sep 21, 2015 10:07pm

Thank you Prof. Hoodhboy, You opened up my eyes and now i can see more clear. A must read article for Pakistanis. Extremism is a pathological disorder, unfortunately, IK although not corrupt but suffers from extremism.

Usman Sep 22, 2015 01:12pm

Btw Khan claimed he will reduce major corruption in 90 days upto 70 80%, and if i am not wrong i havent heard of any major corruption scandals in KPK which were left unpunished, even a sitting minister of his own party was arrested by his own provincial govt. on corruption charges. Secondly terrorism is a federal issue so dont blame him for things he dont have authority on.

Ismail Suleman Sep 22, 2015 05:58pm

A well written article. I wish people understand the truth and stop living in denial

Agha Shoaib Ahmed Sep 22, 2015 06:26pm

It is beyond my understanding that what Doctor hoodbhai is trying to say he means to say keep voting these tried and tested politician do not go for alternatives available it is our bad luck that we have limited choices to elect our rulers what i believe it is better to try new one then those who are responsible for this state of affairs of pakistan.