CRF Blog

Imran Khan Must Be Doing Something Right

by Bill Hayes

In Imran Khan Must Be Doing Something Right, New York Times Magazine profiles the Pakistani cricket star and the country’s most popular politician.

Khan’s campaign strategy is simple: he has promised to uproot corruption within 90 days, end the country’s involvement in America’s war on terror and institute an Islamic welfare state. His quest for a moral Pakistani state and a righteous politics is clearly informed by his own private journey. Famous in the 1980s as a glamorous cricketer, he is at pains to affirm his Islamic identity in his new autobiography, “Pakistan: A Personal History.” A rising politician’s careful self-presentation, the book fails to mention his friendship with Mick Jagger, his frequenting of London’s nightclubs in the 1980s and other instances of presumably un-Islamic deportment, like the series of attractive women with whom he was linked by racy British tabloids. It does devote one chapter to Jemima Goldsmith, the daughter of a wealthy British businessman, Jimmy Goldsmith, whom he married in 1995 — he was 43, she was 21 — but this serves largely as a backdrop for his early, self-sacrificing immersion in politics.

His political enemies in Pakistan, he writes, used Jemima Khan’s partly Jewish ancestry to depict him as a Lothario with dubious Zionist affiliations — attacks that, Khan claims, made Pakistan a taxing place for Jemima and eventually led to their divorce. The marriage ended in 2004. Khan’s two sons now live with their mother in London, but he and his wife have remained friends. In an article in The Independent, Jemima revealed that Khan stays with her mother, Lady Annabel Goldsmith, when in London, and noted that Khan told her not to worry about how their marriage is depicted in the book: “You come across as you always wanted to — Joan of Arc.” [more]