9 times PM Imran Khan made us cringe and laugh our way through ‘Naya Pakistan’

Published: April 30, 2019

His statements not only caused national embarrassment but also humiliation for Pakistan across the world.

There has hardly been a moment of peace over the past eight months since Prime Minister Imran Khan came to power, given the sheer number of controversies he has caused on a regular basis.

Imran is famous for speaking extemporaneously and saying whatever comes to his mind; facts and reason be damned. It doesn’t help that his army of cult followers do not have the ability to think past his persona and move beyond the Kaptaan fan club.

But Imran often moves beyond saying controversial things to making statements that are absolutely ridiculous, resulting not only in national embarrassment but also humiliation for Pakistan across the world. He is our prime minister, after all.

Let’s take a look at some of the most unbelievable statements Imran has made after becoming the prime minister.

1. Comparing himself to Hitler

Imran, who is famously known as U-turn Khan, continued this practice after becoming the prime minister as well. As he realised running a country is harder than it seems when standing atop a container, he frequently made and announced decisions, only to take them back upon facing backlash.

Instead of accepting his mistakes, he stated that taking U-turns is a trait of a great leader. He then elaborated,

“Adolf Hitler and Napoleon Bonaparte would not have suffered losses in wars in Russia if they had taken U-turns. Leaders should always be ready to take U-turns according to the requirement of their duties and best interests of the nation. One who doesn’t take decisions according to the demand of the situation is not a true leader.”

One wonders how Muhammad Ali Jinnah and Nelson Mandela must be rolling in their graves after hearing this. However, for Imran’s followers, it was a non-issue to see him compare himself to Hitler, and they defended Imran’s narcissism as he called himself a ‘true leader’.

2. “I was not aware of the Rupee devaluation”

In December 2018, Imran held a meeting with journalists and made a strange revelation: he himself did not know about the devaluation of the Rupee, and came to know about it only through the media. If you don’t see how ridiculous that is, imagine a prime minister who is not only unaware while his state’s currency is devalued but also reveals this to the media, in a move that openly highlights his government’s incompetence. The only other example that comes to mind of a leader getting his news from the media instead of his advisors is of Donald Trump, and that’s never a good comparison.

3. A train faster than the speed of light

In an amazing statement, Imran revealed to an audience in Pakistan that during his visit to China, he saw the Chinese make trains that will travel faster than the speed of light. It was (of course) termed as a ‘slip of tongue’ by his followers, but alas, there is no concept of a slip of tongue in the real world, especially when you are the figurehead of the state.

4. What came first, the chicken or the egg?

In another comedic episode, Imran gave a statement that his government will provide the poor and unemployed with chickens, who will produce eggs and eventually in the process every unemployed or poor individual will become rich through this great idea. The questionable validity of the idea aside, it was ridiculous to see the prime minister go from promising white collar jobs (when in the opposition) to selling the idea of chickens to the masses. One wonders how different our country would be and how long ago we would have eliminated poverty if only we had thought of this chicken formula earlier.

5. ‘Jesus Christ has no mention in history’

In November of last year, Imran decided to offer his pearls of wisdom regarding the history of religions. While addressing a conference on Eid Miladun Nabi, Imran stated,

“Moses got some mention, but there is no mention of Hazrat Isa (Jesus Christ) in history.”

Not only was this a highly ignorant statement that hurt the sentiments of our Christian community, Imran was trolled incessantly for his (lack of) knowledge. After all, it must take a lot to entirely forget the man behind the most followed religion in the world.

As usual, all those criticising Imran’s irresponsible and factually incorrect statement were called “lifafas” by Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf’s (PTI) troll army and Imran did not even bother to offer an apology to the Christian community.

6. Usman Buzdar is Wasim Akram Plus

Buzdar, perhaps the most unqualified chief minister we have, was declared ‘Wasim Akram Plus’ by Imran. On the contrary, Buzdar does not even appear to be Tauseef Ahmed. Now that Imran is stated to be unhappy with Buzdar’s performance and is likely to replace him, it’s funny how Buzdar has gone from Wasim Akram Plus to Usman Buzdar Minus.

7. Pakistan is “desperate” for money 

Last year, Imran went to Saudi Arabia for Davos in the Desert in the wake of the murder of a Saudi journalist that caused global uproar. When asked  by a delegation of foreign journalists about the why Pakistan was partaking in the event given the circumstances, Imran stated that while what happened in Turkey was condemnable, Pakistan had no choice but to support Saudi Arabia as it was “desperate” for money.

His statement resulted in a blood bath at the Karachi Stock Exchange, but Imran’s advisors denied that such an interview had taken place or such a statement had been given. We all know foreign journalists are not members of the Imran Khan fan club, and it was quickly revealed that the interview did take place. No matter what side you are on, the sitting prime minister revealing that his country is desperate for money is never a good look.


8. Germany and Japan are neighbours now

In his now infamous visit to Iran, Imran surprised us all by the revelation that not only are Japan and Germany neighbours, but that they also worked together to re-build after World War II. This is history the entire world was unaware of previously, as both states happen to be separated by thousands of miles, while even historians were surprised to learn that both countries started joint projects after World War II.

As we all know Imran can never be wrong, and had he not revealed this information, history buffs as well as anyone who has ever seen a world map would have died in ignorance. It was also funny to see Imran’s followers go out of their way to defend him, and while some clarified it was a ‘slip of tongue’ and he actually meant to say ‘France’, others were adamant that he was historically correct. The world did not seem to feel the same way, and this statement made an international mockery of our premier.

9. The insult of “sahiba

Imran reached a new low recently after he taunted Bilawal Bhutto Zardari by calling him “sahiba” (gentlewoman). It is evident that that the insult was as much for Bilawal as it was for the women of the country, and it is made worse by the fact that this came from a sitting prime minister regarding an opponent. Perhaps if he had more women in his government, Imran would finally learn that women are not weak and that he cannot get away by insulting half the population of the country.

Given his history, Imran is likely to say more ridiculous things given some more time to do so. In the meantime, we can simply laugh and cringe our way through the Naya Pakistan that was promised.

Imad Zafar

Imad Zafar

The writer is a columnist and writes for various English and Urdu publications. He tweets at @rjimad (twitter.com/rjimad)

The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of The Express Tribune.