“I am called an Islamic fundamentalist by Rushdie.
My critics in Pakistan say I am a Zionist agent.
I must be doing something right.”
–Imran Khan, in an interview to the
New York Times, 2012.

Such was the cavalier attitude of PTI Chief Imran Khan in an international interview. Would he say the same things today to the local press?

The whole interview was a collection of colourful contradictions and questionable language. When Khan was told that many liberal-minded people in Pakistan are worried about his positions, Khan exclaimed: “Morons!... First you have to guarantee basic social and economic rights before you get to gender rights! What is the point of these NGO workers showing up in conservative tribal areas wearing blue jeans?!”

He is our local version of Donald Trump- conservative, loud and rude. But this is effective, he has an audience, a very large one. Should dressing conservatively get more work done in tribal areas? No, because the way a women dresses should have nothing to do with her abilities or desire to make a difference. Yes, because the Imran Khan mind-set is widespread. People like him argue for the clearly liberal demand for basic social and economic rights, but will exclude women. They will talk of dialogue with the Taliban and their rights, but not of equal rights for women? With such petty politics of taking jabs at women, gender rights and dismissing dissenting views as moronic, he opens himself up to the same criticism. No wonder the local media is obsessed with his personal life, more so than any other politician in Pakistan.