Princess Diana’s great love was a British doctor of Pakistani origin, Hasnat Khan, whom she desperately wanted to marry say her friends and live in Pakistan. Jemima Khan, the lush lipped, luxurious maned blonde, actually married a Pakistani, the hottie Imran Khan and lived in Pakistan, covering her head and wearing diaphanous salwar kameezes. What is it with blonde beauties and Pakistani men? Why is Pakistan such a chick magnet?
Let’s put aside the image that Pakistan conjures up these days…suicide bombers, assassinated politicians, military dictators, Talibanisation, venom-spewing madrassas, atrocities on women, lawyers being bashed up and the media being stiffled. Let us put aside all that’s unpleasant about Pakistan because that’s what these women did. They just looked at the romance of the Pakistani man. Don’t choke. Remember this is the land of Mirza Ghalib, Allama Iqbal and Faiz. This is the land where the most beautiful and romantic Urdu poetry was written. And, which woman can resist being courted by shayari.
Imagine a tall, good looking Pakistani doctor quoting Urdu shayari (Dr Hasnat Khan) to a love-starved Brit princess (Diana) and then comparing him to a vegetarian, horse loving, talking to plant gora-like Prince Charles. Diana read books on Islam and, is said to have kept a photograph of “my dishy doctor” at the Kensington Palace. But Dodi happened and thus ended a doomed love affair. What happened to the doctor? He went ahead and had an arranged marriage with Hadia Sher Ali of Afghan origin. That marriage didn’t last and he lives with his parents in Jhelum.
This is the land of tall and good-looking men. No Asif Zardari, Nawaz Sharif and Pervez Musharraf are not the only ones. Take a look at some of the famous Indian actors, all originating from Pakistan – Raj Kapoor, Dilip Kumar, Dev Anand and Balraj Sahni. The list is endless. Muhammad Rafi came from a family of barbers in Bhatti Gate, Lahore. Pran, the sneering villain, lived in Qila Gujjar Singh, also in Lahore. Another famous Lahori was Om Prakash. The actor who captured many a heart when he danced to “aye meri zohra jabeen tujhe maloom nahi, tu abhi tak hai haseen aur mai javaan, tujpe qurbaan meri jaan”, Balraj Sahni, was also from Lahore. Sahni, in fact was the secretary general of the All India Communist Party before he decided to join the film industry. Imagine if he hadn’t joined films, today we would have had Balraj Sahni in the UPA coaltion. Aah! What a delicious thought.
The Khan brothers, Feroz, Sanjay and their lesser-known siblings are also Pathans from the North West Frontier Province. So, technically speaking, Fardeen Khan is of Pakistani origin. Sharukh Khan’s parents migrated from Peshawar and Rawalpindi. The current heartthrob Ranbir also has Pathan-Pakistani origins.
A tall fair handsome Pathan is legendary in the subcontinent for his boorish and unpredictable behaviour. If girls today swoon over the long locks of Dhoni or the swagger of Sreesanth, one almost feels sorry for them. Those of us who lost our adolescent hearts to Imran Khan in the eighties had it better. While there were rumours of him cavorting with Zeenat Aman, she found another Pathan, the already married Sanjay Khan. Imran went on to marry a Jewish heiress Jemima.
Jemima is divorced from Imran Khan, but was recently seen at a rally in London protesting against his incarceration by the military regime in Pakistan. After almost a decade of being separated from Khan, and having acquired the mealy-mouthed Hugh Grant as boyfriend, she hasn’t severed her links with Pakistan. Jemima recently commented on the political affairs of the country, “the justification for the selection of Benazir’s son as chairman was that only a Bhutto could provide unity within the party. If so, then why not 25-year-old Fatima Bhutto, who is arguably more qualified for the job than her teenage face-booking cousin? ” Talking of names, Jemima had adopted the last name of Khan and never went back to her maiden name, which was Goldsmith.
Will she dump commitment-phobic Grant and go back to Pakistan to be with Imran once again is a loaded question. Imran hasn’t remarried and he desperately needs something to prop up his sagging political career. When Benazir was assassinated, Imran was in India. The pictures in the papers were of him lounging by the poolside at socialite Parmeshwar Godrej’s residence in Mumbai. Jemima seemed more politically savvy, in her reaction to the succession battle in the PPP. Stoking flames, she said: “If everything’s in a name, Fatima need not have changed hers in order to inherit. Brought up in Pakistan, unlike Bilawal, and a native speaker, she is an established writer and political commentator. At least, she has some work experience. Aunt Benazir’s first-ever job was Prime Minister of a 160-million-strong nation.”
The region of Pakistan has been invaded and occupied by Aryans, Greeks, Huns, Arabs, Turks, Mongols and Eurasians. And, let us not forget the birth of civilization took place here in the Indus Valley in 2000 B.C. Quite naturally, its people are culturally and socially wealthy. The West acknowledges it. Wonder when the Pakistanis will wake up to this fact.