Meet Imran Khan, Pakistan's next prime minister who was his country's biggest sports star, a notorious playboy, and married his 3rd wife before ever seeing her face

Imran Khan, the man who will become Pakistan’s next prime minister, has had a colourful past.

Before entering politics in the mid-1990s, Khan was an Oxford scholar, world-renowned cricketer, and a playboy with a reputation on London’s party scene.

His first two marriages were to a British socialite and a BBC weather presenter, who has since accused him of cheating and taking hard drugs. His third wife is a woman whose face he had never seen until after the wedding.

Khan’s party, the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf, won more seats than its opponents in the country’s general election. It will need a coalition to form a government.

Scroll down to learn more about Imran Khan, the cricketer-turned-politician.

This is Imran Khan, the 65-year-old leader of Pakistan’s Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) political party. The party, whose name means “Movement for Justice” in Urdu, won more seats than other parties in the Pakistani parliament, which would effectively make Khan the next Prime Minister.

PTI officially won the general election, but will need to form a coalition for its government, the Associated Press reported.

He grew up in Lahore, Pakistan, before going to Oxford University. There he enrolled in the prestigious Philosophy, Politics, and Economics course, which was studies by other world leaders like Britain’s David Cameron, Australia’s Tony Abbott, Myanmar’s Aung San Suu Kyi, and Pakistan’s Benazir Bhutto.

Diliff/Wikimedia CommonsThe chapel at Oxford University’s Keble College, which Khan attended.

However, Khan was known less for his academics than his sportsmanship. He made his debut for Pakistan’s national cricket team in 1971, aged 18.

Source: Daily Pakistan

Upon leaving university he joined its national cricket team permanently, where he played from 1976 to 1992. Pakistan won the Cricket World Cup in 1992 with Khan as captain.

Throughout the 1980s and 1990s Khan still spent much of his time in London, where he garnered a reputation as a party animal and playboy.

Source: The Daily Mail

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

Source: The Daily Mail

He frequently visited exclusive London nightclubs like Tramp and Annabel’s, according to British media. He has reportedly described Tramp as his “living room.”

Tramp London/YouTubeLondon’s Tramp nightclub, as can be seen in a promotional video from 2016.

Source: The Daily Mail, The Times

Khan, however, has painted a more wholesome picture of his time as a bachelor in London. Here’s how he described it: “All my friends were free at weekends so we would laze about together, reading the papers.”

Pajor Pawel/Shutterstock

Source: The Telegraph

In 1995 he married British socialite Jemima Goldsmith. She was 20, while Khan was 42. You can see footage of their wedding, and their first interview, in the video below:

Goldsmith converted to Islam, moved to Pakistan, learned Urdu, and had two sons with the cricketer before they divorced in 2004. They appeared to part on good terms, with Khan saying in 2011 that he stayed at Goldsmith’s mother’s house in south London whenever he visited.

Source: The Telegraph

Meanwhile, his political career was also blossoming. In 1996 Khan founded the Tehreek-e-Insaf. The party has vowed to end poverty, decrease spending, stand up for religious minorities, and support an independent judiciary.

Source: Khaleej Times, Times of Islamabad, Press Association, Dawn

Khan ran for parliament in 1997 but didn’t win. He won his first seat — the only one for PTI — in the 2002 general elections.

Paula Bronstein/GettyImran Khan, in the green-and-red scarf, waving to supporters at a campaign rally in Shadi Khal, Pakistan, in October 2002.

During this time Khan was also a philanthropist in Pakistan, setting up multiple hospitals, a technical college, and a foundation aimed at assisting the needy. In 1996, Princess Diana visited Pakistan to help him raise funds for a hospital.

Source: Daily Pakistan

He has appeared to keep his links to the British Royal Family since moving away from the UK. Here he is with Prince Charles and his second wife, Camilla, at a charity event in 2013.

Anthony Devlin/WPA Pool/Getty

In 2015, Khan married Reham Nayyar Khan, a British-Pakistani journalist who worked as a weather presenter for the BBC. Their marriage ended in divorce ten months later.

Khan’s second marriage appeared to be a rocky one. Earlier this year Reham accused Imran of cheating, and Imran said marrying Reham was the “biggest” mistake of his life.

Source: The Times, The Mail on Sunday

Earlier this month she also published a tell-all book, in which she accused the cricketer-turned-politician of fathering more than five children out of wedlock and doing hard drugs, and suggested that he was bisexual. He appears not to have responded directly to the claims.

Daniel Berehulak/GettyImran Khan in London in 2008.

Source: Firstpost, The Mail on Sunday

Imran Khan married his third wife, Bushra Maneka, in February 2018 — without ever having seen her face before. “I proposed to her without seeing her because she had never met me without her face being covered with a full veil,” he told The Mail on Sunday.

Maneka is a spiritual guide in Islam’s Sufi branch, and had vowed not to meet men other than her husband with her face uncovered, The Mail on Sunday reported.

Khan told the British newspaper:

“I did not catch a glimpse of my wife’s face until after we were married. I proposed to her without seeing her because she had never met me without her face being covered with a full veil.

‘The only idea I had of what she looked like came from an old photograph I had seen in her house.”

He added that during his partying days in London, it would have been “unthinkable if someone had told me I would marry someone whose face I hadn’t seen. I would have thought they were mad.”

Source: The Mail on Sunday

Fast forward to July 2018, where Khan’s PTI party was dominant in the country’s parliamentary elections. Goldsmith, Khan’s first wife, tweeted: “My sons’ father is Pakistan’s next PM.”

Goldsmith added in a since-deleted tweet: “I remember IK’s 1st election in 1997- untested, idealistic & politically naive. I waited up for the call in LHR with 3 mo old Sulaiman, who I had lugged around the country.

“Eventually he called. ‘It’s a clean sweep’ & after my gasp, ‘… the other way.’ He roared with laughter.”

But it looks like Khan’s ascent to power won’t be easy: All his opponents in major parties have rejected the result and claimed the votes were rigged by the military and electoral commission, saying that the military had even been forbidding people from casting their ballots.

Mir Hasil Khan Bezinjo, the president of Pakistan’s National Party, told The Guardian: “The country has become a laughing stock globally because the final election results are still withheld and Army has decided the candidates not the masses.”

Source: The Guardian

Meanwhile, the electoral commission has denied any wrongdoing in its delay in announcing the results. Its spokesman said there had been “no conspiracy, nor any pressure” in the delay, blaming it on a technical failure.

Electoral Commission secretary Babar Yaqoob said, according to The Guardian: “The delay is being caused because the result transmission system has collapsed.”

On the day of the vote, a suicide bomber also killed 31 people outside a voting booth in Quetta, a northwestern city near the Afghan border. ISIS has claimed responsibility. Khan condemned the attack, adding: “Pakistanis must defeat the terrorists’ design by coming out in strength to cast their vote.”

Read more: At least 31 people have been killed in a suicide bombing outside of a polling station on Pakistan’s election day

Source: Imran Khan/Twitter

Khan declared victory on Thursday. “I have been struggling for 22 years,” he said in televised remarks, as cited by local media.

Dawn/YouTubeKhan’s supporters celebrate after the general elections as unofficial results came out.

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