Book claims Imran-Benazir affair; PPP says 'rubbish'
PPP has labeled the allegations "scandalous and malicious".
Islamabad: Labelling as "scandalous and malicious," Pakistan's ruling PPP on Thursday dismissed a new book's claims that its slain chairperson Benazir Bhutto once had a love affair with cricketer-turned-politician Imran Khan.
Benazir, a two-time former premier, did not have anything ever to do with Khan while studying in England's famous Oxford University, Pakistan's High Commissioner to Britain Wajid Shamsul Hasan said in a statement.
The contradiction by Hasan, a close confidante of Benazir comes in the wake of a new biography of Khan by Christopher Sandford which claimed the cricketer and the renowned beauty had enjoyed "a close and even a 'sexual' relationship" while studying at Oxford.
Sandford also claimed Benazir became infatuated with Khan and the cricketing legend's mother had once unsuccessfully attempted to fix an arranged marriage between the two.
Hasan, who has been associated with the Bhutto family since the 1960s, described the claims as "baseless, scandalous and malicious".
Hasan also said Benazir "never had any affair with any one" and her marriage with Asif Ali Zardari, now the President of Pakistan, was arranged by the two families in keeping with traditions. Khan too has contradicted the claims, he said.
Hasan dismissed the "scandalous" claim as a "brazen and most despicable attempt to malign and undermine Pakistan's most popular leader".
He added, "This is nothing but the cheapest possible way for marketing the new biography of Imran Khan".
Sandford, who interviewed both Khan and his ex-wife Jemima for his book, claims a source told him that Benazir was 21 and in her second year of studying politics at Lady Margaret Hall when she became close to Khan in 1975.
The source told Sandford that Benazir had been "visibly impressed" by Khan.
"In any event, it seems fairly clear that, for at least a month or two, the couple were close. There was a lot of giggling and blushing whenever they appeared together in public," Sandford told Britain's Daily Mail newspaper.
Khan has denied that he ever had a relationship with Benazir. He said: "Yes, I was interviewed (for the book), but I know nothing about the rest of what has been written. So it is not official.
"It is absolute nonsense about any sexual relationship or my mother and an arranged marriage. We were friends that's all".