THE BOOK that Pakistan was waiting for is finally out. Two weeks before a make-or-break election for Imran Khan, his ex-wife Reham Khan’s autobiography portrays the former cricketing superstar and prime ministerial hopeful as a man who led “a bizarre life” of “sex, drugs and rock ‘n’ roll”.
Reham Khan, as the e-book released on Amazon Thursday is called, also claims that the 65-year-old cannot read the Quran, believes in black magic, and had confessed that he has “some” illegitimate Indian children.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi finds a tangential reference in the book, which is mostly a damaging portrayal of the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf leader, who believes he is on course to forming the government after the July 25 election.
How this book will affect Imran’s prospects is not clear. But for the Pakistan Muslim League (N), which is reeling under the conviction and sentencing of its leader Nawaz Sharif, and his daughter and political heir Maryam Nawaz — both reach Lahore from London Friday — the book must be music to the ears.
More so, as it includes a brief description of Nawaz’s brother Shahbaz, who has taken over the party, as a no-nonsense and “professional” leader. She also describes Nawaz’s daughter as a brave woman politician, with none of the airs of a political
dynast, who gets up to open the door herself to those waiting outside her room.
From Imran’s eating habits to his purported sexuality, the self-published book stops at nothing. There has been no reaction yet from Imran Khan or any of his rivals to the book, although the contents are enjoying an outing in all Pakistani media. It was Imran’s dogged pursuit of the Panama Papers leak that led to Nawaz’s disqualification and conviction.
In an election that has seen much drama but very little campaigning, Reham’s book has thrown another spicy if salacious variable to the mix of hyperactive chief justice, “farishtey” (angels) and “khalai makhlooq” (extra terrestrials) — terms used by Nawaz Sharif to obliquely allege meddling by the military and intelligence services in this election — and jihadis.
The former journalist, who was married once to a UK-based doctor, but walked out of what she calls a violent and abusive marriage, met Imran when she arrived in Pakistan to take up a job with a TV station after a stint with the BBC in the UK. She says she fell for “his persistent and convincing courtship”.
After they were married secretly six months before a publicly announced wedding in 2015, Reham claims, Imran told her that he had “5 in total” illegitimate children, and that “some were Indians” and the eldest of them was 34 years old.
According to Reham, he told her that apart from her, the only other person who knew this was his first wife Jemima Goldsmith.
Reham writes that he also told her about a liasion with a Bollywood star of the 1970s, and claimed that she became very “clingy”. But according to Reham, she made enquiries and found it was the other way round. The Bollywood star, who is not named in the book, but described as the “sexiest star” of that decade and a “bombshell”, had apparently dismissed her experience with Khan as “naam baray or darshan chotay”.
The book describes in detail how Imran rubbed “black dal” all over his body because he had been advised to do that by a “pir”, and how the drawers in his Bani Gala residence in Islamabad were full of amulets and other “voodoo” stuff.
It also says that Imran the politician was a “creation” of the late Lt Gen Hamid Gul, the former ISI chief and Islamist who created the Taliban, and was rabidly anti-India and anti-West. But it also refers to his ties with Israel and Jewish lobbies through his marriage to Jemima, and alleges that he is controlled by shady “purse-strings in London”.
The book gives Gul a role in the break-up of their short marriage. Reham, who is also a British citizen, describes a meeting between her and Gul in which he told her she was not a suitable wife for Imran because of her foreign connections. She writes that she was not the one in the marriage with foreign connections. Imran showed her a text from Gul that said “Abort the marriage”, but laughed it off.
In the book, Reham also writes that she warned Imran: “(You) do realise that you will be used and discarded like toilet paper? Nawaz will be controlled, and so will you.”
When it was clear to Imran that he was not going to dislodge Nawaz Sharif through street protests, Reham writes: “I would gently and repeatedly give the example of Modi, the Indian Prime Minister, who was chief minister of Gujarat State for a decade and then elected to the top job, because of his seemingly strong governance record, despite all the negative baggage.”