Pakistan opposition leader Imran Khan weds TV journalist

In this handout photograph released by the Pakistan Tehreek Insaf (PTI) party on Jan 8, 2015, Pakistani opposition leader Imran Khan (left) and new wife Reham Khan pose for a photograph during their wedding ceremony at his house in Islamabad. -- PHOT
In this handout photograph released by the Pakistan Tehreek Insaf (PTI) party on Jan 8, 2015, Pakistani opposition leader Imran Khan (left) and new wife Reham Khan pose for a photograph during their wedding ceremony at his house in Islamabad. -- PHOTO: AFP

ISLAMABAD (AFP) - Pakistani opposition leader Imran Khan wed a TV journalist in a simple ceremony at his Islamabad home Thursday, ending years of speculation surrounding the former playboy cricketer widely considered his country's most eligible man.

Imran Khan, who is 62 and the father of two sons from his previous marriage to British socialite Jemima Khan (nee Goldsmith), tied the knot with Reham Khan, the 41-year-old host of a Pakistani political talk show in an Islamic ceremony before a handful of witnesses, a spokeswoman said.

"There are no wedding or valima receptions. Tomorrow food will be distributed amongst poor children," Khan's party spokeswoman Shireen Mazari said, referring to additional marriage events typical of traditional, elaborate Pakistani weddings.

Khan wore a cream-coloured Sherwani, the national dress of Pakistan, while Reham wore an off-white Peshwaz dress with red brocade border.

Khan's Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaaf (PTI) party won the third largest number of seats in the 2013 elections and governs the northwest Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province.

He had first announced his intention to wed shortly after he began a movement to topple the government last August, which he called off last month in the aftermath of a Taliban attack on a school that killed 150 people.

Reham, 41, was previously a BBC weather host and according to media reports she is also a divorced mother of three.

Loved by millions across the cricket-obsessed nation for winning Pakistan its only World Cup in 1992, Khan's sporting prowess and rugged good looks also brought him international celebrity in a country lacking glamour.

Born in 1952 in Lahore into a comfortable family with origins in the Pashtun northwest, Khan was educated at Aitchison College, the Eton of Pakistan, boarding school in England, and then Oxford University.

He became one of the world's greatest ever all-rounders - a fearsome fast bowler and dangerous batsman - whose finest hour came at the 1992 World Cup, where at the age of 39 he led an inexperienced team to the title.

Off the pitch, he had a string of socialite girlfriends and frequented exclusive nightclubs in London until he married Jemima Goldsmith, the daughter of the French-British tycoon James, in 1995.

She converted to Islam and the couple moved in with his family in Lahore.

They had two sons but divorced in 2004, allegedly over the difficulties Jemima faced in Pakistan, where she was hounded for her family's Jewish ancestry and his obsession with politics.

He is also feted for his philanthropy. He founded the best cancer hospital in the country, which provides free care to the poor, and set up a college that awards British university degrees in Mianwali, his family's home town.