If Imran Khan does go on to become the Prime Minister of Pakistan, he will be the 19th leader to take charge of the terror-hit nation as its premiere. Fondly called 'King Khan', the former Cricket World Cup-winning captain has many shades and some of those are very grey.
Imran Khan and his party Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) is on its way to govern troubled Pakistan. As per trends of the Pakistan election results a day after polling that saw large scale violence and killings, Khan’s PTI is within touching distance of the 137 seats required for a party to form a government on its own. Khan’s PTI is leading on 115 seats, far ahead of Shahbaz Sharif’s PML-N (64) and PPP (38) in the 272 contested constituencies.
If Imran Khan does go on to become the Prime Minister of Pakistan, he will be the 19th leader to take charge of the terror-hit nation as its premiere. Fondly called ‘King Khan’, the former Cricket World Cup-winning captain has many shades and some of those are very grey. From being a suave, charming gentleman, a talisman skipper, an influential yet controversial person to being eloquent orator, and a firebrand political figure, this man has every qualities worthy of being a plot of classic dark-biopic. From cricket, steamy affairs with beautiful ladies to his tryst with politics, Khan has indeed lived many lives.
Khan was born in 1952 in Lahore and went on to become one of the best players of his generation and best all-rounders of all time. The pinnacle of his cricketing career came on March 25, 1992 when he guided Pakistan to lift its maiden World Cup. Twenty-six years after that memorable night at Melbourne Cricket Ground, Thursday evening is likely to herald a different challenge for the ‘Captain’. However, between these two moments of success, Khan’s life has witnessed sharp vicissitudes of fortune.
Colourful Personal life
While his cricketing legacy won’t go into oblivion easily, Khan’s personal life has always found its way to headlines. Khan had married Jemima Goldsmith in 1995 but parted ways in 2004. Khan has two sons with her. His second marriage with journalist Reham Khan became the talk of town as Khan had by then become a prominent political figure in Pakistan. Mired in countless controversies, the marriage eventually lasted less than a year. Khan again tied the nuptial knot with his spiritual guide Bushra Maneka earlier this year.
In her autobiography, Khan’s second wife Reham levelled startling charges against Khan. Laying bare the alleged playboy image of Khan, Reham said the PTI chief had led “a bizarre life” of “sex, drugs and rock ‘n’ roll”. Reham has also claimed that Khan cannot even read the Quran and has illegitimate children in India. The book took potshots at Khan’s liking for black magic, eating habits and even his purported sexuality.
Khan’s rise as the strong political persona in the volatile country is unprecedented as no other sportsperson has managed to do what he has. Khan founded his party Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf in 1996 after retiring from cricket. However, political success eluded him for years. PTI had only one seat until 2003 in Pakistan Parliament.
Yet, Khan had sensed the political vacuum prevailing in the country and managed to strike a chord with youth through rhetoric. During the campaign, Khan had promised ‘Naya Pakistan’ (New Pakistan) and had stoked controversy by branding Nawaz Sharif’s supporters as “donkeys.” Khan is contesting from five seats in the provinces of Punjab, Sindh, and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, and the Islamabad Capital Territory.
Experts from India and US are keeping a close tab on the political developments in Pakistan. Khan has raised his pitch while talking about India and US in his recent speeches. He has vehemently pitched for cutting “trade ties with India”. He is on the record to have said that ‘America is destroying Pakistan’. Khan also seems to enjoy the backing of the all-powerful Army as he has asserted that “It is the Pakistan Army and not an enemy army.”
While Pakistan is expecting the ‘Captain’, cricket lovers will hope he will delivers with the same pace for the country as he did on the pitch if he becomes the Prime Minister of the country.