The former wife of PM Imran Khan Jemima Goldsmith has shared her experience of getting married to an ‘older man with political influence’, living in Pakistan, and being standing in the middle of the Muslim-Jew debate.
In a recent interview, Jemima said, “The stories that I choose to explore are always ones that resonate with me on a personal level.”
Jemima in the Interview spoke about the significance of the upcoming shows saying that they were inspired by her personal life adding that the show ‘What’s Love Got To Do With It’ was based on her life she had spent in Pakistan with Imran Khan.
She said, “During the interviews, she was describing the FBI sting, and I suddenly realized that the same year, in Pakistan, I’d had to leave the country because I’d also been threatened with jail on politically trumped-up charges. I’d been accused of smuggling antiques, one of the few non-bailable offenses in Pakistan. I realized there were parallels, marrying an older, politically powerful man and being used to undermine him.”
Speaking of her other project, What’s Love Got To Do With It, Jemima commented on the details about how it took her 10 years to pen down the script of a film which is heavily inspired by her time in Pakistan.
Discussing the time she spent in Pakistan, Jemima shared how her perception of arranged marriages changed. She commented, “When I went to Pakistan I probably had the same views as the rest of my friends about the concept of arranged marriage, which is that it is a mad, outdated idea.”
She continued, “But I came back after ten years with a slightly different view, whereby I could see some merits to it. In a world where we are led entirely by the idea of romantic love, if we could inject some pragmatism into that, a little more objectivity, then we might find a middle ground somewhere between passion and pragmatism, and we might make better decisions.”
She confessed that she ended up making up some matches saying, “When I was in Pakistan I genuinely ended up arranging marriages. Quite often these children of friends of my ex-husband would say, ‘ok, we’ll have an arranged marriage, but can Jemima be involved’. That didn’t mean that the parents didn’t have ultimate sign-off, but I was part of the process, and I saw them play out. I don’t want to be Pollyannaish, because I know that forced marriage is a whole different thing. But when it’s what has come to be known as assisted marriage, I’ve seen it work very successfully.”
Jemima tied the knot with Imran in 1995 when she was 21 and he was 42 at the time. The author also spoke about her experience of marrying an ‘older man with political influence.’ She confessed, “It [marriage] is not a normal decision, aged 21, with all the freedoms and privileges that we grew up with, to essentially give those up, to go and live in an extremely black and white culture and adopt a black and white way of life and doctrine, with a man who was twice my age and a born again Muslim.”
Jemima further said, “At that point in my life I found some reassurance in the prescriptiveness of that culture, that religion, that man. When my sister [India Jane Birley] was asked in an interview why I went there she said, very intelligently, ‘moral certitude.’ It was seen as this great amorous adventure and I am not sure that was the whole story. I would say, in retrospect, that moral certainty might have been more of a driving factor.”
Imran Khan’s ex-wife then explained how the marriage went unsuccessful, She said, “But after ten years, what had felt reassuring — deferring to other people and not having to come up with solutions myself — began to feel like a loss of autonomy. As you get older you realize that you can find some of the answers in yourself.”
Jemima also spoke about being right in the middle of the debate surrounding Jews and Muslims. “I do feel like I have an ability to see things from both points of view in a way that possibly some of my contemporaries, both in Pakistan or here, don’t,”
She added, “I even feel like I am right in the middle of the Islamophobia and anti-Semitism debate because I’ve seen both at first hand. I’ve got half-Pakistani Muslim children and I was a young girl who was politically targeted because of my Jewish ethnicity. It’s an interesting perspective.”
Jemima signed off by wishing that she wants to pen her life in an autobiography. She said, “If I don’t write a book before I die, whether that is a memoir or a novel, then I will feel that I have failed.”