A new biography of Pakistani cricketer-turned-politician Imran Khan pooh-poohs suggestions that he was romantically involved with slain former premier Benazir Bhutto.
"One of my cousins was interested in her (Bhutto) and she also took an interest when I introduced them to each other. At one point, marriage was virtually on the cards," Khan told Frank Huzur, his Indian biographer.
According to Khan, who now heads the Pakistan Tehrik-e-Insaaf party, Bhutto had an affair with the "spotlight". "She trusted my instincts for counsel. Politics was not her calling, but she was able to make it her calling. She would have made a great ambassador for Pakistan," Khan is quoted as saying in an excerpt from Huzur's book "Imran Vs Imran".
"Talking glibly came easy to her. Retorting is not everyone's forte. Benazir had the ability to retort with thunderous impact followed by one of her crystal-eyed stares. She wanted to stay in charge for ever," he said.
Nearly two years ago, author Christopher Sandford claimed in his biography of Khan that Bhutto became infatuated with Khan during their student days at Oxford University in the 1970s and the pair enjoyed a "close" and possibly a "sexual" relationship. Sandford also claimed Khan's mother unsuccessfully tried to organise an arranged marriage between the pair.
In Imran Vs Imran, Khan further said: "When Benazir was sworn in as the first Muslim prime minister, I thought I had lost a friend to the murky game of power politics. I enjoyed her confidence."