Imran Khan has always been in the spotlight, a jack of all trades who led Pakistan to the pinnacle of world cricket, a politician who came to power with a promise to clean up the system and a prime minister now facing a no-trust vote .
Here’s a 10-point profile of the cricketer turned politician:
Imran Khan’s government is in danger after a key ally strikes a deal with the opposition Pakistan Peoples Party. The Pakistan National Assembly has a strength of 342 members, with a majority of 172. Khan’s party has the support of 164 members and the opposition now has 177. Voting is due today.
Born on 25 November 1952 in Lahore, Khan attended elite Aitchison College and then Royal Grammar School at Worcester and Keble College, Oxford, England. From the start, he excelled in cricket, making his first-class debut at the age of 16.
Khan was selected to the Pakistan national team in 1970 and in the decade that followed, he became a world-class all-rounder. He was named captain of the team in 1981 and led Pakistan to its first and only World Cup victory in 1992.
After retiring from cricket, Khan opened Shaukat Khanum Memorial Trust Cancer Hospital in memory of his mother who had died of the disease. The hospital is hailed worldwide as a center for free cancer treatment.
Khan founded the Tehrik-e-Insaaf in 1996 – meaning ‘Movement for Justice’. In its early years, the party did not perform well in elections, with Khan losing his first parliamentary election in 1997.
He tasted political success in 2002 when he won a seat in the Pakistan National Assembly. He resigned in 2007 with more than 80 other members to protest against the re-election of Pervez Musharraf as Pakistan’s president while he was still an army chief.
On a personal level, Khan married Jemima Goldsmith, the daughter of billionaire Sir James Goldsmith. The couple, who have two sons, divorced in 2004. His second marriage to TV journalist Reham Nayyar Khan was also short-lived. He married Bushra Bibi, a spiritual leader, in 2018.
Khan’s party emerged as a formidable force in the 2013 Pakistani elections. In the next election in 2018, it won 116 seats and formed a ruling coalition with support from smaller parties. Khan was sworn in as Prime Minister of Pakistan on August 18, 2018.
Once in power, Khan started building a “welfare state”. His government has also made a number of key appointments based on qualifications rather than political favours.
While the Pakistani government led by him has insisted it wants better relations with India, Khan’s tenure has seen bilateral ties take a nosedive, especially after the 2019 Pulwama terror attack that killed 40 CRPF men.