Is Imran Khan Pakistan’s Donald Trump? This was the immediate question as Khan, a figure who was born into wealth, studied at renowned institutions, and pursued a professional cricket career, won the race to become Pakistan’s 22nd Prime Minister. Despite a background and populist stance similar to Donald Trump’s, Khan’s systematic rise to power and genuine care for Pakistan’s population invalidates any comparison between these two world leaders.

Born in 1952 to an affluent family in Lahore, Pakistan, Khan attended Aitchison College, a premier preparatory school. He continued his education at the prestigious Oxford University, where he graduated with a degree in philosophy, politics, and economics. At the mere age of eighteen, Khan joined the national Pakistani cricket team and guided them to Pakistan’s only Cricket World Cup win in 1992. Because of this victory, he gained celebrity recognition throughout Pakistan. During his cricket career, Khan lived primarily in London, England where he joined the social elite, became known as a playboy, and later married Jemima Goldsmith, the daughter of James Goldsmith, worth approximately £1.2 billion. Post-cricket, Khan focused on social causes, establishing a groundbreaking cancer center named Shaukat Khanum and founding Namal College, a private technical college in Punjab, India.

With all his business success, what launched him into the political sphere? At university in England, Khan’s mind pivoted toward politics. With his educational background focused on politics, Khan viewed the world through this lens from an early age. Despite his privileged background, Khan maintained populist viewpoints, such as criticizing rampant corruption. In 1996, as Khan observed widespread political immorality and corruption in Pakistan, he founded the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) centrist party, meaning “Pakistan Movement for Justice.” In 2002, he obtained a position on the National Assembly, the first seat of many in his political career. After consistent boycotting of the Pakistani voting system, Khan organized protests against rigged polling, resulting in the influx of hundreds of thousands of supporters in 2011. In 2013, PTI won control over the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province, thrusting Khan into the upper ranks of Pakistani politics. Khan’s position as Prime Minister is the result of 22 years of ethical determination and unwavering populist views such as his recent promise to double tax revenues by reforming Pakistan’s Federal Board of Revenue, which investigates tax evasion and money-laundering. Despite constant criticism naming him as a figurehead of the Pakistani military, Khan has never missed a step in his fight for justice.      Unlike Trump’s virtually instantaneous leap to the Presidency, Khan’s long journey to the highest office in Pakistan shows his genuine dedication to his people. In 1996, with every luxury in life he could ever want, Khan’s choice to create a disruptive political party in a cutthroat environment without the slightest craving for the title of Prime Minister reveals his humble character and authentic intentions of making a difference in his homeland. The only true comparisons that can be made to the 45th president of the United States are the parallels in Khan and Trump’s fortunate upbringings, their celebrity statuses at home, and their non-political fame as businessmen and celebrities.