Playboy to Pious politician: Colourful past of Imran Khan

KARACHI: From a famed cricketer to a serious politician and devout Muslim, Imran Khan has done a complete turnaround of his image and is set to become the next Prime Minister of Pakistan.

A quiet and shy boy in his youth, Khan was known as a celebrity playboy in his cricketing days whose romances with some new beauty every time often made headlines.

The model Marie Helvin reportedly said: “Everyone falls for Imran. He has a scent that is very attractive to women.”

The only son of a wealthy civil engineer, Imran grew up in Pakistan’s capital Lahore before going to Oxford University.

He went on to study prestigious Philosophy, Politics and Economics which was studies by other world leaders like Australia’s Tony Abbott, Britain’s David Cameron, Myanmar’s Aung San Suu Kyi, and Pakistan’s Benazir Bhutto.

Though, Khan scored less in his academics but excelled at cricket. He made his lackluster debut for Pakistan’s national cricket team in 1971, aged 18. Skilled at both batting and bowling, Khan made the Pakistan won the Cricket World Cup in 1992 under his captaincy.

Khan’s journey from love and marriage to divorce is the toughest moment of his life.

Khan in 1995, married to Jemima Goldsmith, daughter of Jimmy Goldsmith, a member of the influential Goldschmidt family of England. Raised as a Christian, Jemima converted to Islam before marrying the ex-cricket captain. However, the nine year long journey of the couple ended in 2004.

Photo: AFP

Before his glamourous wedding to Jemima, who was a British socialite turned writer and activist, Khan had an affair with heiress Sita White, daughter of Lord “Gordy” White, who was co-founder of Hanson plc.

In 1996, he took his legendary status into a career in politics and funded Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf and was also a philanthropist in Pakistan.

Khan in 2015 entered into wedlock with Reham Nayyar Khan, a British-Pakistani journalist and their marriage ended in divorce ten months later. Reham, who worked as a weather presenter for the BBC in her autobiography titled Reham Khan accused the cricketer-turned-politician of fathering five illegitimate children.

Photo: AFP

The 65-year-old country’s biggest sports star managed to swapped his former reputation after he married in 2018 for the third time to Bushra Maneka, 39, a spiritual adviser, before ever seeing her face.

Photo: AFP

Post retirement, Khan’s political metamorphosis made him to ditched his playboy image and transformed into to a pious conservative.

The once ladies man who reportedly described London nightclubs Tramp as his “living room” is now anti-feminists.

And on Thursday, Khan’s struggle for 22 years and long-cherished dream of leading Pakistan becomes reality after his Tehreek-e-Insaf declared victory in the nation’s elections.

According to results released by the Election Commission of Pakistan, Khan’s PTI clinched at least 109 national seats.