Don’t take Jemima Khan at face value | Pakistan Today

Don’t take Jemima Khan at face value

LAHORE – “Sister of a Tory, rich twat and according to some, more socialite than socialist, I know some NS readers will be irked. Judge the issue, not me.” So wrote – on Twitter – Jemima Khan, heiress, campaigner, occasional writer and now political interviewer. Call her anything in fact, just not a socialite.
“It’s such a lazy way for journalists to undermine me,” she says, according to a report in The Guardian. Jemima’s latest contribution to journalism came when she not only interviewed the deputy prime minister for the but also guest-edited the week’s issue, themed around freedom of speech, pulling in contributors from Russell Brand to her ex, Hugh Grant.
Jason Cowley, NS editor, said he had been thinking about the idea since Jemima had unexpectedly turned up at the trial of the founder, Julian Assange, posting part of the bail money. Cowley said he was impressed, “I was surprised to see Jemima turning up at court. An interviewer asked why she was there. She said that she had never met Assange but believed profoundly in the work of WikiLeaks, as I do.” A breakfast meeting followed.
“She seemed quite nervous but very determined. I knew quite quickly the issue would be a success because she has good journalistic instincts, sound judgement and charm.” He added that the magazine team was impressed by her diligence and enthusiasm. Why, he adds, would anybody object to her guest-editing? “Because she’s very rich? Far better to judge people as you find them, by what they do and say, and Jemima has been very committed to human rights issues in Pakistan and to freedom of information and the open society.”
Jemima Marcelle Goldsmith was just 20, already weary of the social circuit, when she met the 42-year-old Imran Khan on a night out with friends and the two were engaged within weeks, thrilling and horrifying their circle of acquaintances and admirers. “I always assumed that my wife fell in love with me because of my passions and ambitions,” Imran Khan said later. Within months, she converted to Islam and on 16 May 1995 the couple wed in a two-minute Islamic ceremony in Paris.
On 21 June, they were married again in a civil ceremony at the Richmond register office before heading off for their new life in Lahore. The marriage produced two sons, Sulaiman, now 14, and Kasim, who just celebrated his 12th birthday, the newspaper added. As rumours circulated that her marriage was in crisis, she placed an advertisement in Pakistan newspapers to deny them.
It read, “Whilst it is true that I am currently studying for a masters degree at the School of Oriental and African Studies in London, it is certainly not true to say that Imran and I are having difficulties in our marriage. This is a temporary arrangement.” But it was not to be and Imran now lives alone on his farm, where he grows fruit trees and keeps cows.
He maintains a cricket ground for his two sons, who visit during their holidays and are said to be “quite good” at the sport that made their father a star, the report says. He blames the 2004 divorce on a geographical problem. “Cross-cultural marriages are always more difficult. In the western countries, marriages are difficult. All my friends have got divorced, some of them twice,” he said.
“It was because the two of us realised that she could not live in Pakistan and I could not live outside Pakistan. Once we realised that it became impossible to make the marriage work. And yet we have a very strong bond, we always had it.” Jemima talks frequently and fondly about her ex-husband, commenting, “Someone cynical once said, ‘Never marry someone who you wouldn’t want to be divorced from.’ In this respect, I’ve been very lucky.”
An apparent effort to return to her maiden name was swiftly thwarted by her son who changed her Twitter account back to Khan from Goldsmith. She clearly still has immense warmth towards Pakistan, “It’s the country I feel I grew up in and was a part of, arriving at 20 and emerging a decade later a more questioning and conflicted person. I am still maddened by its faults but I bristle and become defensive if others criticise.”
She remains deeply mindful of how she is perceived in the country and has refused to answer interviewers who ask if she is still a practising Muslim. “Religion for me is very personal and I don’t really like talking about it,” she said last week. She is a patron of the moderate Islamic thinktank, a move which gained her death threats from extremists and she attended the London launch accompanied by a bodyguard.
She told reporters at the launch, “I can’t claim to speak for Muslims. I am certainly very far from most people’s image of what a good Muslim is.”

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