Jemima Khan brought to the Book
By Jemima Khan
"Too late. Don't worry Jem – you come across as you always wanted to – Joan of Arc," was the response I got from my ex-husband, Imran Khan, when I asked if it would be possible to read his memoirs before they were published.
Imran is featured on the front, looking moodily into the middle distance with backcombed, boy-band hair. (And before any Pakistanis get their shalwars in a twist about my irreverence, Imran has an excellent sense of humour and enjoys a tease, by me or a comb). It is hard to over-estimate the importance of hair in Pakistan – a symbol of tantalising female sexuality, referred to in the Koran as an adornment that must be covered, and of male virility and power. An American-Pakistani hair transplant specialist recently moved his practice to Islamabad and after the summer recess, the entire National Assembly re-appeared with follicular explosions on their heads.
That is true..
His party announced the event on Twitter: "Jemima Khan In conversion (sic) with Imran Khan." Been there, done that.
We conversed at Woodstock. Imran talked convincingly about Islam and its compatibility with democracy and also of the corruption of the ruling elite, the breakdown of the rule of law, of women's rights, the Taliban and even of cricket. The audience, judging by comments overheard afterwards, was duly converted.
Of India, he smiled: "Since we can't change our neighbours, we will have to live with them in a civilised way."
On accusations of being too soft on the Taliban, he gesticulated crossly: "Anyone who opposes the war on terror is called a Taliban sympathiser. The reason I wrote this book was to explain what the Taliban is – in Pakistan, it is a war of resistance, not religious ideology."
It is feudalism and hereditary politics, with parties like the PPP being handed down from father to son like heirlooms, which are the scourge of Pakistani politics, he boomed, in that way that used to startle small children. I made him promise that our oldest son would never be bequeathed PTI, his political party.
Corruption was Pakistan's other main challenge, he said. He would not work with other mainstream parties because the leaders of those parties are, without exception, corrupt. He has been offered and turned down prominent roles with all the major parties for that reason. His party is, after all, called, "Pakistan's Movement for Justice".
Imran has always been unfailingly, unfathomably confident. The greatest lesson he has learned from cricket? "Never to give up, to fight to the end."
Imran was and is always right except when it comes to Islam and Muhammad following Muslims in Pakistan there he is a riot.
........asked him if he worried for his safety, as we all do, especially his sons. A fortune-teller once told him that he would be assassinated if he went into politics. He has no fear of death, he said. I knew he would.
Does he fear then not being able to be effective in government? Many former leaders of Pakistan have had noble intentions at the start but have been forced to compromise. "Successful people compromise for their goals, they do not compromise on their goals." If it's not personal enrichment or power for power's sake that you're aiming for, then there's no need for compromise, was his point.
I did not ask about Pakistan's blasphemy laws. It's not safe to give an opinion these days and I worried – perhaps unnecessarily – about an unjudicious answer. He's learnt from past mistakes and has become notably savvier politically in recent years.
I asked him whether, in that case, he would repeal the Hudood Ordinance, the controversial law which often results in female rape victims being sent to prison for adultery or fornication. "My party's view is that it should be repealed completely and debated in Parliament. That has never happened – the law was passed by Zia al Haq – and that is why there are anomalies in it."
Finally I asked him if he would like to see the implementation of sharia law in Pakistan, especially given that he had told our son, when he was two, that his Action Man only had one arm because he'd been stealing so it had been cut off.
The audience laughed.
He shot me a look. As we'd stepped up on the podium an hour earlier, he had whispered a warning: "Don't crack jokes, don't mimic me, keep it serious, OK Jem?"
"Too late," I replied, "but don't worry, you'll come across as you always wanted – a cross between Gandhi and Guy Fawkes." .......
That is a good one.. Well let us hope for the best .. May be Imran can purify a bit ..
The pure land.. Land of Pure.. NO ONE IS PERFECT..