Current Prime Minister of Pakistan, Imran Khan was born in Lahore on 5 October 1952. He was the only son of Ikramullah Khan Niazi, a civil engineer, and his wife Shaukat Khanum, and has four sisters. His paternal family are of Pashtun ethnicity and belong to the Niazi tribe. Imran Khan's mother hailed from the Pashtun tribe of Burki, which had produced several successful cricketers in Pakistan's history, including his cousins Javed Burki and Majid Khan.
A quiet and shy boy in his youth, Imran Khan grew up with his sisters in relatively affluent (upper middle-class) circumstances and received a privileged education. He was educated at Aitchison College in Lahore and the Royal Grammar School Worcester in England, where he excelled at cricket. In 1972, he enrolled in Keble College, Oxford where he studied Philosophy, Politics and Economics, graduating with honours in 1975.
Imran Khan made his first-class cricket debut at the age of 16 in Lahore. By the start of the 1970s, he was playing for his home teams of Lahore A (1969–70), Lahore B (1969–70), Lahore Greens (1970–71) and, eventually, Lahore (1970–71). Imran Khan was part of the University of Oxford's Blues Cricket team during the 1973–1975 seasons. At Worcestershire, where he played county cricket from 1971 to 1976, he was regarded as only an average medium-pace bowler. During this decade, other teams represented by Imran Khan included Dawood Industries (1975–1976) and Pakistan International Airlines (1975–1976 to 1980–1981). From 1983 to 1988, he played for Sussex.
Imran Khan made his Test cricket debut against England in 1971 at Edgbaston. Three years later, he debuted in the One Day International (ODI) match, once again playing against England at Trent Bridge for the Prudential Trophy. After graduating from Oxford and finishing his tenure at Worcestershire, he returned to Pakistan in 1976 and secured a permanent place on his native national team starting from the 1976–1977 season, during which they faced New Zealand and Australia. Following the Australian series, he toured the West Indies, where he met Tony Greig, who signed him up for Kerry Packer's World Series Cricket. His credentials as one of the fastest bowlers of the world started to become established when he finished third at 139.7 km/h in a fast bowling contest at Perth in 1978, behind Jeff Thomson and Michael Holding, but ahead of Dennis Lillee, Garth Le Roux and Andy Roberts.
As a fast bowler, Imran Khan reached the peak of his prowess in 1982. In 9 Tests, he got 62 wickets at 13.29 each, the lowest average of any bowler in Test history with at least 50 wickets in a calendar year. In January 1983, playing against India, he attained a Test bowling rating of 922 points. Although calculated retrospectively (International Cricket Council (ICC) player ratings did not exist at the time), Imran Khan's form and performance during this period ranks third in the ICC's All-Time Test Bowling Rankings.
Imran Khan achieved the all-rounder's triple (securing 3000 runs and 300 wickets) in 75 Tests, the second-fastest record behind Ian Botham's 72. He is also established as having the second-highest all-time batting average of 61.86 for a Test batsman playing at position 6 of the batting order. He played his last Test match for Pakistan in January 1992, against Sri Lanka at Faisalabad. Imran Khan retired permanently from cricket six months after his last ODI, the historic 1992 World Cup final against England in Melbourne, Australia. He ended his career with 88 Test matches, 126 innings and scored 3807 runs at an average of 37.69, including six centuries and 18 fifties. His highest score was 136 runs. As a bowler, he took 362 wickets in Test cricket, which made him the first Pakistani and world's fourth bowler to do so. In ODIs, he played 175 matches and scored 3709 runs at an average of 33.41. His highest score remains 102 not out. His best ODI bowling is documented at 6 wickets for 14 runs, a record for the best bowling figures by any bowler in an ODI innings in a losing cause.
At the height of his career, in 1982, the thirty-year-old Imran Khan took over the captaincy of the Pakistan cricket team from Javed Miandad. As a captain, Imran Khan played 48 Test matches, out of which 14 were won by Pakistan, 8 lost and the rest of 26 were drawn. He also played 139 ODIs, winning 77, losing 57 and ending one in a tie.
In the team's second match, Imran Khan led them to their first Test win on English soil for 28 years at Lord's. Imran Khan's first year as captain was the peak of his legacy as a fast bowler as well as an all-rounder. He recorded the best Test bowling of his career while taking 8 wickets for 58 runs against Sri Lanka at Lahore in 1981–1982. He also topped both the bowling and batting averages against England in three Test series in 1982, taking 21 wickets and averaging 56 with the bat.
Later the same year, he put up a highly acknowledged performance in a home series against the formidable Indian team by taking 40 wickets in six Tests at an average of 13.95. By the end of this series in 1982–1983, Imran Khan had taken 88 wickets in 13 Test matches over a period of one year as captain. This same Test series against India, however, also resulted in a stress fracture in his shin that kept him out of cricket for more than two years. An experimental treatment funded by the Pakistan government helped him recover by the end of 1984 and he made a successful comeback to international cricket in the latter part of the 1984–1985 season.
In India in 1987, Imran Khan led Pakistan in its first-ever Test series win and this was followed by Pakistan's first series victory in England during the same year. During the 1980s, his team also recorded three creditable draws against the West Indies. India and Pakistan co-hosted the 1987 Cricket World Cup, but neither ventured beyond the semi-finals. Imran Khan retired from international cricket at the end of the World Cup. In 1988, he was asked to return to the captaincy by the President of Pakistan, General Zia-Ul-Haq, and on 18 January, he announced his decision to rejoin the team. Soon after returning to the captaincy, Imran Khan led Pakistan to another winning tour in the West Indies, which he has recounted as the last time I really bowled well. He was declared Man of the Series against West Indies in 1988 when he took 23 wickets in 3 Tests. Imran Khan's career-high as a captain and cricketer came when he led Pakistan to victory in the 1992 Cricket World Cup. Playing with a brittle batting line-up, Imran Khan promoted himself as a batsman to play in the top order along with Javed Miandad, but his contribution as a bowler was minimal. At the age of 39, Imran Khan took the winning last wicket himself.
In 1994, Imran Khan had admitted that, during Test matches, he occasionally scratched the side of the ball and lifted the seam. He had also added, only once did I use an object. When Sussex were playing Hampshire in 1981 the ball was not deviating at all. I got the 12th man to bring out a bottle top and it started to move around a lot. In 1996, Imran Khan successfully defended himself in a libel action brought forth by former English captain and all-rounder Ian Botham and batsman Allan Lamb over comments they alleged were made by Imran Khan in two articles about the above-mentioned ball-tampering and another article published in an Indian magazine, India Today. They claimed that, in the latter publication, Imran Khan had called the two cricketers racist, ill-educated and lacking in class. Imran Khan protested that he had been misquoted, saying that he was defending himself after having admitted that he tampered with a ball in a county match 18 years ago. Imran Khan won the libel case, which the judge labelled a complete exercise in futility, with a 10–2 majority decision by the jury.
Imran Khan served as the chancellor of the University of Bradford between November 2005 and November 2014.
Since retiring, Imran Khan has written opinion pieces on cricket for various British and Asian newspapers, especially regarding the Pakistani national team. His contributions have been published in India's Outlook magazine, the Guardian, the Independent, and the Telegraph. Imran Khan also sometimes appears as a cricket commentator on Asian and British sports networks, including BBC Urdu and the Star TV network.
In 2004, when the Indian cricket team toured Pakistan after 14 years, he was a commentator on TEN Sports' special live show, Straight Drive, while he was also a columnist for sify.com for the 2005 India-Pakistan Test series. He has provided analysis for every cricket World Cup since 1992, which includes providing match summaries for the BBC during the 1999 World Cup. He holds as a captain the world record for taking most wickets, best bowling strike rate and best bowling average in Test, and best bowling figures (8 wickets for 60 runs) in a Test innings, and also most five-wicket hauls (6) in a Test innings in wins.
On 23 November 2005, Imran Khan was appointed as the chancellor of University of Bradford, succeeding Baroness Lockwood. On 26 February 2014, University of Bradford Union floated a motion to remove Imran Khan from the post over Imran Khan's absence from every graduation ceremony since 2010. Imran Khan, however, announced that he will step down on 30 November 2014, citing his increasing political commitments. The university vice-chancellor Brian Cantor said Imran Khan had been a wonderful role model for our students.
During the 1990s, Imran Khan also served as UNICEF's Special Representative for Sports and promoted health and immunisation programmes in Bangladesh, Pakistan, Sri Lanka and Thailand. While in London, he also works with the Lord's Taverners, a cricket charity. Imran Khan focused his efforts solely on social work. By 1991, he had founded the Shaukat Khanum Memorial Trust, a charity organisation bearing the name of his mother, Mrs. Shaukat Khanum. As the Trust's maiden endeavour, Imran Khan established Pakistan's first and only cancer hospital, constructed using donations and funds exceeding $25 million, raised by Imran Khan from all over the world.
On 27 April 2008, Imran Khan established a technical college in the Mianwali District called Namal College. It was built by the Mianwali Development Trust (MDT), and is an associate college of the University of Bradford in December 2005. Imran Khan Foundation is another welfare work, which aims to assist needy people all over Pakistan. It has provided help to flood victims in Pakistan. Buksh Foundation has partnered with the Imran Khan Foundation to light up villages in Dera Ghazi Khan, Mianwali and Dera Ismail Khan under the project 'Lighting a Million Lives'. The campaign will establish several Solar Charging Stations in the selected off-grid villages and will provide villagers with solar lanterns, which can be regularly charged at the solar-charging stations.
Basing his wider paradigm on the poet-philosopher Allama Muhammad Iqbal and the Iranian writer-sociologist Ali Shariati he came across in his youth, Imran Khan is generally described as a nationalist and a populist. Imran Khan's proclaimed political platform and declarations include: Islamic values, to which he rededicated himself in the 1990s; liberal economics, with the promise of deregulating the economy and creating a welfare state; decreased bureaucracy and the implementation of anti-corruption laws, to create and ensure a clean government; the establishment of an independent judiciary; overhaul of the country's police system; and an anti-militant vision for a democratic Pakistan.
Imran Khan publicly demanded a Pakistani apology towards the Bangladeshi people for the atrocities committed in 1971. He called the 1971 operation a blunder and likened it to today's treatment of Pashtuns in the war on terror. However, he repeatedly criticised the war crimes trials in Bangladesh in favour of the convicts. Imran Khan is often mocked as 'Taliban Khan' because of his pacifist stance regarding the war in North-West Pakistan. He believes in negotiations with Taliban and the pull out of the Pakistan Army from Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA). He is against US drone strikes and plans to disengage Pakistan from the US-led war on terror. Imran Khan also opposes almost all military operations, including the Siege of Lal Masjid.
In August 2012, the Pakistani Taliban issued death threats if he went ahead with his march to their tribal stronghold along the Afghan border to protest US drone attacks, because he calls himself a 'liberal' a term they associate with a lack of religious belief. On 1 October 2012, prior to his plan to address a rally in South Waziristan, senior commanders of Pakistani Taliban said after a meeting headed by the Taliban leader Hakimullah Mehsud that they now offered Imran Khan security assistance for the rally because of Imran Khan's opposition to drone attacks in Pakistan, reversing their previous stance.
In 2014 when Pakistani Taliban announced armed struggle against Ismaili Muslims (denouncing them as non-Muslims) and the Kalash people, Imran Khan released a statement describing 'forced conversions as un-Islamic'. He has also condemned the incidents of forced conversion of Hindu girls in Sindh. Imran Khan views the Kashmir issue as a humanitarian issue, as opposed to a territorial dispute between two countries (India and Pakistan). He also proposed secret talks to settle the issue as he thinks the vested interests on both sides will try to subvert them. He ruled out a military solution to the conflict and denied the possibility of a fourth war between India and Pakistan over the disputed mountainous region.
Imran Khan visited embassies of Iran and Saudi Arabia and met their head of commissions in Islamabad on 8 January 2015 to understand their stance about the conflict which is engulfing both nations after execution of Sheikh Nimr by Saudi Arabia. He urged the Government of Pakistan to play a positive role to resolve the matter between both countries. In April, 2015, after parliament passed a unanimous resolution keeping Pakistan out of the Yemen conflict, the chairman of the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) as part of opposition, took credit for the decision.
Imran Khan was offered political position few times during his cricketing career. In 1987, then-President Muhammad Zia-ul-Haq offered him a political position in Pakistan Muslim League (PML) which he declined. He was also invited by Nawaz Sharif to join his political party.
In late 1994, he joined a pressure group led by former Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) chief Hamid Gul and Muhammad Ali Durrani who was head of Pasban, a breakaway youth wing of Jamaat-e-Islami Pakistan. The same year, he also showed his interest in joining politics.
On 25 April 1996, Imran Khan founded a political party, Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI). He ran for the seat of National Assembly of Pakistan in Pakistani general election, 1997 as a candidate of PTI from two constituencies, NA-53, Mianwali and NA-94, Lahore but was unsuccessful and lost both the seats to candidates of PML (N).
Imran Khan supported General Pervez Musharraf's military coup in 1999, believing Musharraf would end corruption, clear out the political mafias. According to Imran Khan, he was Musharraf's choice for prime minister in 2002 but turned down the offer. Imran Khan participated in the October 2002 general elections that took place across 272 constituencies and was prepared to form a coalition if his party did not get a majority of the vote. He was elected from Mianwali. In the 2002 referendum, Imran Khan supported General Musharraf, while all mainstream democratic parties declared that referendum as unconstitutional.
He has also served as a part of the Standing Committees on Kashmir and Public Accounts. On 6 May 2005, Imran Khan was mentioned in The New Yorker as being the 'most directly responsible' for drawing attention in the Muslim world to the Newsweek story about the alleged desecration of the holy Quran in a US military prison at the Guantánamo Bay Naval Base in Cuba. In June 2007, Imran Khan faced political opponents in and outside the parliament.
On 2 October 2007, as part of the All Parties Democratic Movement, Imran Khan joined 85 other MPs to resign from Parliament in protest of the presidential election scheduled for 6 October, which general Musharraf was contesting without resigning as army chief. On 3 November 2007, Imran Khan was put under house arrest, after president Musharraf declared a state of emergency in Pakistan. Later Imran Khan escaped and went into hiding. He eventually came out of hiding on 14 November to join a student protest at the University of the Punjab. At the rally, Imran Khan was captured by student activists from the Islami Jamiat-e-Talaba and roughly treated. He was arrested during the protest and was sent to the Dera Ghazi Khan jail in the Punjab province where he spent a few days before being released.
On 30 October 2011, Imran Khan addressed more than 100,000 supporters in Lahore, challenging the policies of the government, calling that new change a 'tsunami' against the ruling parties, Another successful public gathering of hundreds of thousands of supporters was held in Karachi on 25 December 2011. Since then Imran Khan became a real threat to the ruling parties and a future political prospect in Pakistan. According to a International Republican Institute's survey, Imran Khan's Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf tops the list of popular parties in Pakistan both at the national and provincial level.
On 6 October 2012, Imran Khan joined a vehicle caravan of protesters from Islamabad to the village of Kotai in Pakistan's South Waziristan region against US drone missile strikes. On 23 March 2013, Imran Khan introduced the Naya Pakistan Resolution (New Pakistan) at the start of his election campaign. On 29 April The Observer termed Imran Khan and his party Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf as the main opposition to the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz. Between 2011 and 2013, Imran Khan and Nawaz Sharif began to engage each other in a bitter feud. The rivalry between the two leaders grew in late 2011 when Imran Khan addressed his largest crowd at Minar-e-Pakistan in Lahore. From 26 April 2013, in the run up to the elections, both the PML-N and the PTI started to criticise each other.
On 21 April 2013, Imran Khan launched his final public relations campaign for the 2013 elections from Lahore where he addressed thousands of supporters at the Mall. Imran Khan announced that he would pull Pakistan out of the US-led war on terror and bring peace to the Pashtun tribal belt. He addressed different public meetings in various cities of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and other parts of country where he announced that PTI will introduce a uniform education system in which the children of rich and poor will have equal opportunities. Imran Khan ended his south Punjab campaign by addressing rallies in various Seraiki belt cities.
Imran Khan ended the campaign by addressing a rally of supporters in Islamabad via a video link while lying on a bed at a hospital in Lahore. The last survey before the elections by The Herald showed 24.98 percent of voters nationally planned to vote for his party, just a whisker behind former prime minister Nawaz Sharif's PML-N. On 7 May, just four days before the elections, Imran Khan was rushed to Shaukat Khanum hospital in Lahore after he tumbled from a forklift at the edge of a stage and fell headfirst to the ground. Pakistan's 2013 elections were held on 11 May 2013 throughout the country. The elections resulted in a clear majority of Pakistan Muslim League (N). Imran Khan's PTI emerged as the second largest party by popular vote nationally including in Karachi. Khan's party PTI won 30 directly elected parliamentary seats and became third largest party in National Assembly behind Pakistan People's Party, which was second.
Imran Khan led Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf became the opposition party in Punjab and Sindh. Imran Khan became the parliamentary leader of his party. On 31 July 2013 Imran Khan was issued a contempt of court notice for allegedly criticising the superior judiciary, and his use of the word shameful for the judiciary. The notice was discharged after Imran Khan submitted before the Supreme Court that he criticised the lower judiciary for their actions during the May 2013 general election while those judicial officers were working as returning officers. Imran Khan's party swooped the militancy-hit northwestern Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KPK), and formed the provincial government. PTI-led Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government presented a balanced, tax-free budget for the fiscal year 2013–14.
Imran Khan believed that terrorist activities by Pakistani Taliban can be stopped through dialogue with them and even offered to open an office in KPK province. He accused the US of sabotaging peace efforts with the Pakistani Taliban by killing its leader Hakimullah Mehsud. He demanded government to block NATO supply line in retaliation for killing of the leader of Tehreek Taliban Pakistan (TTP).
On 13 November 2013, Imran Khan, being party leader, ordered Pervez Khattak to dismiss ministers of Qaumi Watan Party (QWP) who were allegedly involved in corruption. Bakht Baidar and Ibrar Hussan Kamoli of Qaumi Watan Party, ministers for Manpower & Industry and Forest & Environment respectively, were dismissed. Imran Khan ordered Chief Minister KPK to end the alliance with QWP. Chief Minister KPK also dismissed Minister for Communication and Works of PTI Yousuf Ayub Khan due to a fake degree.
A year after elections, on 11 May 2014, Imran Khan alleged that 2013 general elections were rigged in favour of the ruling PML (N). On 14 August 2014, Imran Khan led a rally of supporters from Lahore to Islamabad, demanding Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif's resignation and investigation into alleged electoral fraud. On its way to the capital Imran Khan's convoy was attacked by stones from PML (N) supporters in Gujranwala. However, there were no fatalities.
Imran Khan was reported to be attacked with guns which forced him to travel in a bullet-proof vehicle. On 15 August, Imran Khan led protesters entered the capital and a few days later marched into the high-security Red Zone. On 1 September 2014, according to Al Jazeera, protesters attempted to storm Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif's official residence, which prompted the outbreak of violence. Three people died and more than 595 people were injured, including 115 police officers. Prior to the violence that resulted in deaths, Imran Khan asked his followers to take law into their own hands.
By September, Imran Khan had entered into a de facto alliance with Pakistan Awami Tehreek's Allama Muhammad Tahir-ul-Qadri. Both have aimed to mobilise their supporters for regime change. Imran Khan entered into an agreement with Sharif administration to establish a three-member high-powered judicial commission which would be formed under a presidential ordinance. The commission would make its final report public. If the commission finds a country-wide pattern of rigging proved, the prime minister would dissolve the national and provincial assemblies in terms of the articles 58(1) and 112(1) of the Constitution, thereby meaning that the premier would also appoint the caretaker setup in consultation with the leader of opposition and fresh elections would be held.
Imran Khan contested the general election from NA-35 (Bannu), NA-53 (Islamabad-II), NA-95 (Mianwali-I), NA-131 (Lahore-IX), and NA-243 (Karachi East-II). According to early, official results, Imran Khan led the poll, although his opposition, mainly PML-N, alleged large-scale vote rigging and administrative malpractices. On 27 July, election officials declared that Imran Khan's party had won 110 of the 269 seats, giving PTI a plurality in the National Assembly. At the conclusion of the count on 28 July, the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) announced that the PTI had won a total of 115 of the 270 seats contested. Imran Khan became the first person in the history of Pakistan general elections who contested and won in all five constituencies, surpassing Zulfikar Ali Bhutto who contested in four but won in three constituencies in 1970.
A number of opposition parties have alleged massive rigging in Imran Khan's favour amid allegations of military interference in the general elections. Nawaz Sharif and his PML-N party, in particular, claimed that a conspiracy between the judiciary and military had influenced the election in favour of Imran Khan and PTI. The Election Commission, however, rejected allegations of rigging and Sharif and his PML-N later conceded victory to Imran Khan, despite lingering reservations regarding the result. Two days after the 2018 general elections were held, the chief observer of the European Union Election Observation Mission to Pakistan Michael Gahler confirmed that the overall situation of the general election was satisfactory.
After the result of 2018, general elections, Imran Khan said that he will try to remake Pakistan based on the ideology of Muhammad Ali Jinnah. During his victory speech, he laid out the policy outlines for his future government. Imran Khan said his inspiration is to build Pakistan as a humanitarian state based on principles of first Islamic state of Medina. He described that his future government will put poor and commoners of the country at first and all policies will be geared towards elevating the standards of living of the lesser fortunate. He promised an investigation into rigging allegations.
He said that he wanted united Pakistan and would refrain from victimizing his political opponents. Everyone will be equal under law. He promised a simple and less costly government devoid of showy pompousness in which prime minister house will be converted into an educational institute and governor houses will be used for public benefit. On foreign policy, he aimed to learn from China and hoped to have better relations with Afghanistan, United States, and India. On Middle East, he said his government will strive to have a balanced relationship with Saudi Arabia, and Iran.
On 6 August 2018, PTI officially nominated him as the candidate for prime minister. Delivering a speech during his nomination, he said that he will present himself for public accountability for an hour every week in which he will answer questions put forward by masses.
On 17 August 2018, Imran Khan secured 176 votes and became 22nd Prime Minister of Pakistan while his contender and leader of opposition Shehbaz Sharif received 96 votes. He took oath of office on 18 August 2018. On 18 August, he announced his cabinet appointments, choosing to keep the Ministry of Interior to himself. Just few days before the elections were announced, his party unveiled first 100 days plan for his future government in which sweeping measures and reforms were promised.
In 2010, a Pakistani production house produced a biographical film based on Khan's life, titled Kaptaan: The Making of a Legend. The title, which is Urdu for 'Captain', depicts Imran Khan's captaincy and career with the Pakistan cricket team which led them to victory in the 1992 cricket world cup, as well as events which shaped his life, from being ridiculed in cricket to being labelled a playboy, from the tragic death of his mother to his efforts and endeavours in building the first cancer hospital in Pakistan, from being the first Chancellor of the University of Bradford to the building of Namal University.
On 16 May 1995, at the age of 43, Imran Khan married 21-year-old Jemima Goldsmith, Jemima converted to Islam. The couple have two sons, Sulaiman Isa and Kasim. On 22 June 2004, it was announced that the couple had divorced, ending the nine-year marriage because it was difficult for Jemima to adapt to life in Pakistan.
In January 2015, it was announced that Imran Khan married British-Pakistani journalist Reham Khan in a private Nikah ceremony at his residence in Islamabad. On 22 October, they announced their intention to file for divorce. In February 2018, Imran Khan married Bushra Manika. According to Imran Khan, his life has been influenced by Sufism for three decades, and this is what drew him closer to his wife Bushra Manika.