Broken hearts over Imran's declaration

The announcement that Pakistan's cricket hero, Imran Khan, will wed Jemima Goldsmith, daughter of the financier Sir James Goldsmith, had the country buzzing yesterday. Even some of Imran's close friends were stunned by the news, which the cricket star had kept a secret.

This surprise extended to his family. At first, the cricketer's father, contacted in Lahore, reportedly claimed his 42-year-old son and Ms Goldsmith, 21, married two months ago, after Ms Goldsmith had converted to Islam in London. Hours later he changed his story, saying his son and the millionaire's daughter had become engaged in March.

While many tabloids in Britain and other countries splashed photographs of Ms Goldsmith wearing glamorous dresses with revealing necklines, in the Pakistani press she appeared in a demure blouse, looking like a fresh-faced college girl instead of a dazzling socialite. Censors are adept at hand-painting jackets and high-collared dresses on photographs of women who bare too much.

Imran has proved as difficult to spot these past few days as his fast- paced deliveries once were on the cricket pitch. As soon as news of the engagement was released by the Goldsmith family in Europe, Imran is thought to have left Lahore, first for Islamabad, then Karachi. He is said to have flown to London yesterday to meet his fiance.

Over the past months, Imran's outspoken criticism of Western culture and his public espousal of Islamic values led many Pakistanis to believe the cricketer - considered the country's most popular man, and most eligible bachelor - would marry a local woman. "Imran has broken the hearts of Pakistanis," one paper lamented.

A favourite guessing game in Pakistan is whether Imran might enter politics. The latest twist is whether this marriage will tarnish his image as a champion of traditional Islamic and Pakistani values.

After leading Pakistan to its 1992 World Cup win, Imran retired from cricket to build a cancer hospital in memory of his mother, who died from the disease. While fund-raising, he attracts huge, adoring crowds.

Some acquaintances fear it may be difficult for his bride to fit in to the cloistered Islamic life in Pakistan. "After she's met a few of Imran's friends in Lahore and gone shopping, there isn't much to do. I'm afraid she'll get terribly bored and end up flying back to Europe three times a month," one Lahore society woman said.

Angela Lambert, page 19

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Life and Style
love + sex
Voices
A propaganda video shows Isis forces near Tikrit
voicesAdam Walker: The Koran has violent passages, but it also has others that explicitly tells us how to interpret them
News
people
Arts and Entertainment
Victoria Wood, Kayvan Novak, Alexa Chung, Chris Moyles
tvReview: No soggy bottoms, but plenty of other baking disasters on The Great Comic Relief Bake Off
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Outbound Sales Executive - B2B

£18000 - £22000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A great opportunity has arisen ...

Recruitment Genius: Online Sales and Customer Services Associate

£14000 - £16000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Full time and Part time positio...

Ashdown Group: IT Manager - Salesforce / Reports / CRM - North London - NfP

£45000 per annum: Ashdown Group: An established and reputable Not for Profit o...

Recruitment Genius: Sales Ledger & Credit Control Assistant

£14000 - £17000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Sales Ledger & Credit Control...

Day In a Page

War with Isis: Iraq's government fights to win back Tikrit from militants - but then what?

Baghdad fights to win back Tikrit from Isis – but then what?

Patrick Cockburn reports from Kirkuk on a conflict which sectarianism has made intractable
Katarina Johnson-Thompson: Heptathlete ready to jump at first major title

Katarina Johnson-Thompson: Ready to jump at first major title

After her 2014 was ruined by injury, 21-year-old Briton is leading pentathlete going into this week’s European Indoors. Now she intends to turn form into gold
11 best gel eyeliners

Go bold this season: 11 best gel eyeliners

Use an ink pot eyeliner to go bold on the eyes with this season's feline flicked winged liner
Syrian conflict is the world's first 'climate change war', say scientists, but it won't be the last one

Climate change key in Syrian conflict

And it will trigger more war in future
How I outwitted the Gestapo

How I outwitted the Gestapo

My life as a Jew in wartime Berlin
The nation's favourite animal revealed

The nation's favourite animal revealed

Women like cuddly creatures whilst men like creepy-crawlies
Is this the way to get young people to vote?

Getting young people to vote

From #VOTESELFISH to Bite the Ballot
Poldark star Heida Reed: 'I don't think a single bodice gets ripped'

Poldark star Heida Reed

'I don't think a single bodice gets ripped'
The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

Netanyahu knows he can get away with anything in America, says Robert Fisk
Families clubbing together to build their own affordable accommodation

Do It Yourself approach to securing a new house

Community land trusts marking a new trend for taking the initiative away from developers
Head of WWF UK: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

David Nussbaum: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

The head of WWF UK remains sanguine despite the Government’s failure to live up to its pledges on the environment
Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

Set in a mythologised 5th-century Britain, ‘The Buried Giant’ is a strange beast
With money, corruption and drugs, this monk fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’

Money, corruption and drugs

The monk who fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’
America's first slavery museum established at Django Unchained plantation - 150 years after slavery outlawed

150 years after it was outlawed...

... America's first slavery museum is established in Louisiana
Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

The first 'American Idol' winner on how she manages to remain her own woman – Jane Austen fascination and all