Imran Khan

Tariq Ali

A couple of decades ago I was having lunch with Imran Khan at an Italian restaurant in Knightsbridge. He was preoccupied with his approaching retirement from cricket. ‘People like you,’ he frowned, ‘have no idea what it is to be a sportsman. Our careers end in our thirties. We have to think of something new to do.’ Becoming a cricket commentator was obviously out, so I suggested that, given the absence of a serious film industry in Pakistan, he could raise money for a film institute. We could get directors from all over the world to visit and teach for a while. ‘But what would I do?’ he asked.

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[*] Bantam, 400 pp., £20, September, 978 0 593 06774 1.