`My tigers have a very strong sense of their Pakistani identity,’ says Jemima Khan

Nov. 12: Jemima Khan may have divorced Pakistan cricketer-turned politician Imran Khan, but she says that she and Imran have made sure that their two sons – Suleiman, now 10, and Kasim, eight, have a very strong sense of their Pakistani identity despite their parents mixed background.

“It’s no surprise I feel passionate about it. I lived in Pakistan for 10 years, my sons have a very strong sense of their Pakistani identity, my ex-husband is Pakistani, ” The Times quotes her as saying in an interview in her London home.

She says that she has explained to Suleiman and Kasim everything that is going on. They were in Pakistan only a couple of weeks ago for half term and she’s thanking her lucky stars that they are back safely.

“Sunday is usually the day they travel, so if half-term had been a week later . .. ” They were accompanying her to the demonstration yesterday – and bringing friends – and she was spending Friday evening making placards with them to take along. She was amused to receive a message from Imran via a friend saying: “I’m very excited about Saturday’s demo. Make sure my tigers are holding placards, ” Jemima said.

“I really want the boys to understand how lucky they are. I take it for granted that we live in a democracy and we’re allowed to protest and I want them to understand that that’s actually a privilege and there are a lot of people in the world who don’t have that privilege, ” she says.

“I want them to understand what their father is trying to do in Pakistan, why he’s not available to them as much as he’d like to be, the seriousness of what he’s involved with, ” she adds.

Imran and Jemima married in 1995 after a whirlwind romance. She was just 21, he twice her age. The daughter of Sir James and Lady Annabel Goldsmith, Jemima was an impossibly glamorous young socialite.

Friends wondered how she would cope with her new life in Lahore with the serious-minded former cricketer who had just founded the Movement for Justice and was dipping his toes into the hazardous waters of Pakistan politics. Jemima was part-Jewish by birth and raised a Roman Catholic but converted to Islam and “learnt Urdu and really impressed everyone, ” according to Imran.

In 2004, the marriage was dissolved and she moved back to London with their two sons,

Much of the background to politics in Pakistan the boys must have picked up by osmosis.

“I should think they’ve sat through hundreds of political meetings out there, ” she laughs. “The house is pretty much one big political gathering at all times.

“But I sometimes wonder how aware they are of how volatile it is over there. Obviously I’m aware, because since I’ve been there, they’ve been through several changes of government. Nobody served out their time while I was there, there was always a forced end to whoever was in charge so everything’s always been very dramatic. They were too small to be aware of that but they know about everything that’s happening now, ” Jemima said.

But young as they are, she wants them to take their trip to Downing Street seriously – by writing their own slogans for their placards, for instance.

“I want them to think; I want them to be involved. I don’t want to just shove something into their hands and say ‘now just wave this about’ without them understanding. My little one’s a bit young, but the older one’s quite capable of thinking this through so he can decide what he wants to call for. ” (ANI)