You ask the questions: Jemima Khan

(Such as: so what's your view of the burqa? And who are your favourite fast bowlers?)
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The Independent Online

Jemima Khan, daughter of the late Sir James Goldsmith, was born in London in 1974. While studying English at Bristol University, she met Imran Khan, the legendary Pakistani cricketer, and converted to Islam to marry him in 1995. After their wedding the couple moved to Pakistan, where Imran was carving out a new career for himself in politics. Jemima supported him on the campaign trail and has since devoted herself to various causes, including Afghan refugees and improving literacy levels in Pakistan. Jemima also has a successful fashion label, the profits of which go towards the Imran Shaukat Khanum Memorial Cancer Hospital in Lahore. Jemima and Imran have two sons, Suleiman and Qassim, and divide their time between London and Lahore.

How can the West allay the fears of the world's Muslim population?
Simon Riles, Twickenham

A better understanding of the concerns of the Muslim world would help. Achieving a solution to the conflict in the Middle East; the establishment of a viable Palestinian state is the crux, but, of course, there are other issues too. Waging a war on a nation of 25 million people to wipe out Osama bin Laden and his network, while failing to examine the root causes of why this atrocious attack took place in the first place, may have satisfied a grieving public's understandable urge for retribution, but it will not prevent something this terrible from happening again. Ignoring the fact that there is this deep hatred for the US in many parts of the world, because of perceived double standards in their foreign policy, is simply unwise and dangerous.

Are you still doing good work for Afghan refugees in Pakistan? What is your prognosis on their future?
Iqbal Butt, by e-mail

Yes. Originally, I set up an appeal last March to help provide emergency relief for those who had fled the drought and renewed fighting in the north of Afghanistan. Now, of course, the problem has escalated. Most live in makeshift camps with no proper shelter or sanitation facilities. The camps resemble vast dumping grounds, with endless rows of tents made out of plastic bin liners. Seven million out of a population of 25 million Afghans are estimated to be living as refugees.

So far, we have set up an emergency medical clinic and have provided 7,000 tents and basic food supplies to 14,000 families. My aim now is to set up an orphanage for the many war orphans.

Name the three greatest fast bowlers of your lifetime, and why.
Rob Merton, by e-mail

I am bored by cricket and mercifully met Imran long after his career was over. Frankly, I wouldn't know the difference between a fast bowler and a slow one.

What is your view of the burqa?
Elaine Moore, London

Personally, I could never wear one. But the issue for me is not so much the burqa itself but of coercion. I think it is important to make the distinction between the compulsory burqa and one that is worn out of choice. I was appalled by the Taliban rule that made the burqa obligatory. My view is that a Muslim woman should have the right to choose both what she wears and how she defines "modesty" in Islam.

Mother to mother, don't you ever feel like gathering up your children and running away?
Louisa Byers, by e-mail

Thankfully, I have never felt like running away from Pakistan, although I did spend several months in London when the last government, which was very hostile to Imran, falsely accused me of smuggling antique tiles out of the country. Although the tiles were brand new and I had forensic evidence to prove it, smuggling antiques is a non-bailable offence in Pakistan, and technically they could have held me in jail to await trial. Bearing in mind that Pakistani governments have habitually used political victimisation tactics against their opponents and the fact that I had two small children, I decided not to take the risk of returning until there was a change of government and the case was dropped.

Do you believe that the war against terrorism is a war against Islam?
Carl Morton, Cardiff

I don't personally, but unfortunately it has been perceived as one by many in the Muslim world, and I do feel that the situation could have been handled more sensitively. President Bush has repeatedly referred to the terrorist acts on the US as "attacks on the civilised world". Surely the "civilised" response to these attacks would have been to prove conclusively who was to blame for them and then bring that person or network to trial at an international tribunal. The US has achieved little so far by bombing in Afghanistan. Bin Laden has not been found, terrorists have not been deterred. There have been countless innocent civilians killed either directly or indirectly by the bombardment and there is a huge refugee crisis. Yes, the Taliban's days seem to be over, but there is also a potential civil war, as a result of the power vacuum that exists now in Afghanistan. On top of all this, there is even more resentment in the Muslim world against the US and its allies.

Could I suggest that being lectured to by the child of a billionaire is among the more annoying features of life today? How do you plead?
Stella Morris, by e-mail

Does having money preclude having a social conscience and discussing issues of importance such as the environment? I don't see the conflict.

Do you ever fear for you husband's life? And if so, how do you stay sane?
Sonia Reed, Barnstaple, Devon

Generally, on a day-to-day basis, I don't fear for Imran's life, but there have been a few scares in the past. A number of times, I have had calls from friends, embassies or journalists telling me that he has been killed in a shooting or an accident. And the bomb that went off in Imran's cancer hospital in 1996, killing eight people and injuring 30, was very worrying, particularly as, for some time, we were unsure whether or not he was in the building.

I remember reading an article that suggested you prefer life in London to the hardships of Pakistan. How hard was it to forge a new life in such an alien environment?
Kira Featherstone, by e-mail

I think you are referring to an article in Vanity Fair that I subsequently wrote a letter of complaint about. The journalist who came to Pakistan to interview us sadly had all the usual preconceived stereotyped ideas about what my life must be like in a third-world Muslim country, typically equating material comfort with happiness. Unfortunately, her derogatory remarks about Lahore were then attributed to me in the tabloid press. The fact is that obviously life is very different in Pakistan and it took some time to adapt, but I think I have found a good balance after six years, and I enjoy both my life here as well as my visits to London.

Does Imran Khan still have ambitions to stand for the Pakistani assembly?
PL Morton, Derby

Imran is an idealist and an optimist, even in the worst circumstances, and firmly believes that his party will win the next election. His great hope lies in the fact that the voting age has been lowered from 21 to 18, bringing in 15 million fresh voters, who are desperate for a change. Let's see...

What went through you head during the incident [on a flight to Nairobi last December] when a lunatic started trying to get into the cockpit?
Meera Syam, London

I have always been afraid of flying, but now flying for me is a torture. Most of all I fear the fear itself, and that feeling of resignation to and acceptance of imminent death. What amazed me, though, was the miraculous strength of the maternal instinct. It enabled me to contain and control my fear in a way that I would never have imagined possible.

Where will you educate your children? And would you like either of them to be involved in politics?
T Singh, London

The plan is to educate them in Pakistan. Unless it is a mission and you are doing it out of a sense of duty, like Imran, I think politics is a terrible profession to be in for anyone who values their privacy.

What do you think should happen to Osama bin Laden? Would his death simply create a martyr?
Petra Kales, Swansea

Ideally, but perhaps unrealistically now, he should be tried in an international court of law. If he is assassinated, as Bush's pre-emptive "wanted dead or alive" proclamation suggests he will be, then watertight evidence must be provided. Otherwise the danger is that he will be seen in Muslim countries as a scapegoat for the crimes committed against the US people and that will not only make him a martyr, but it will also inspire more acts of terrorism.

Send donations to The Jemima Khan Afghan Refugee Appeal, PO Box 34940, London SW6 2XA. For credit-card donations, ring 0870 400 2242

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