Islamabad, January 7 (Dawn): After much speculative drama regarding Imran Khan’s third wedding, finally, his party, the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI), broke its silence, saying its chairman has not been married ‘yet’ but has sent a marriage proposal to Bushra Maneka.
Imran, former captain of the Pakistan cricket team and now the head of a political party, has been visiting 50 year old Bushra for spiritual guidance for quite some time. She has asked for some time to consult her family members before making any decision.
The PTI communique said if Bushra and her family would accept the proposal then Imran will himself announce it, until then it has been requested that the media respect his privacy.
If the marriage to Bushra Maneka does take place ,it will be his third wedlock and the second for Bushra. Imran was first married to Jemima Goldsmith and then to actress Reham Pakistan.
It all started after a local newspaper on Saturday claimed that Imran had married, for the third time.
The report claimed that the marriage ceremony was held in Lahore on January 1 and was attended by the PTI chief’s close aides, including Awn Chaudhry, Naeemul Haque, Mufti Saeed, a British Pakistani businessman, and Imran’s personal friend Zulfi Bokhari.
Imran was repeatedly asked by the media to comment on the news but he preferred not to comment. However, some PTI leaders in their individual capacity either rejected the news or termed it a “purely private matter”.
Earlier, commenting on the rumors in her tweet, PTI leader Dr Shireen Mazari said, “Ridiculous! When SC deprives IK’s detractors from doing accusatory stories of corruption, they create stories of his marriage! Somewhat pathetic too!”
“For the record, it is Chairman PTI Imran Khan’s personal business and no one else’s, when, with whom and where he decides to marry,” she added.
Imran’s Political Secretary Awn Chaudhry, who according to the report was one of the two witnesses signing the marriage papers, also took to Twitter.
“This is irresponsible yellow journalism. I had categorically denied the veracity of this planted gossip. Totally concocted story.”
Later he clarified: “It’s his wish that Imran should marry a woman, and that woman make his life pleasant and wonderful. But, it [this subject] has nothing to do with politics.”
Naeemul Haque, however, offered no public comment over the issue.
Earlier, in 2017 a local newspaper had reported that Imran had silently been visiting a remote town of Sahiwal where he stays “for a few hours at the residence of his hosts who belong to influential Maneka clan with whom he is said to have a spiritual bond.”
The report had suggested that the PTI chief there meets one Bushra Bibi, known as Ms Pinki in the area, for spiritual advice.
However, one of Bushra’s sons, who on Saturday appeared on a local news channel, categorically denied the report that her mother had married Khan.
The PTI chief was married twice but neither of his marriages worked. He married Jemima Goldsmith, a British national, in 1995 and ended relationship with her in 2004. He then married Reham Khan in 2015 but the relationship ended within just 10 months.
A few months ago, Imran in response to a question about a third marriage had said in a lighter vein: “I am in a hurry to complete my marriages’ hat-trick”.
Who’s Bushra and where did she meet Imran first?
The PTI chief had first met Bushra, a mother of five, shortly before the 2015 by-election in Lodhran for the National Assembly 154 seat.
Bushra belongs to influential Wattoo family in Punjab’s Pakpattan district. She recently divorced her Khawar Farid Maneka, a customs officer and a son of former Federal Minister Ghulam Farid Maneka.
Bushra’s two sons – Ibrahim and Musa – after graduating from Aitchison College in Lahore are currently getting higher education abroad.
Mehru, (eldest of Bushra’s three daughters) is the daughter-in-law of Punjab MPA Mian Atta Muhammad Maneka.
Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) had filed a complaint with the Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (Pemra) against TV channels over airing news about party chairman Imran Khan’s third marriage.
Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Information Secretary Naeemul Haque on Tuesday refuted reports of Imran Khan’s third marriage as baseless.
Shortly after, the PTI chairman also took to Twitter to also deny rumours of a third marriage.
“Rumours about my marriage are absolutely baseless. I have not gotten married. When I do I will announce and celebrate publicly,” he said.
Reports said Imran visited Pakpattan thrice this month to visit his alleged bride Maryam, who is a sister of Imran’s ‘spiritual guide’ Bushra.
However, senior journalist Arif Nizami – who had earlier leaked the news of Imran’s second marriage to Reham Khan –said the news of Imran Khan’s third marriage could merely be a media buzz.
In an interview with Hindustan Times Imran said: “It is not in my blood to give up. But it takes a lot. There’s nothing worse than divorce, I tell you. It’s one of the worst things that can happen to a human being. It doesn’t matter who initiates it, it’s a terrible experience. So I would be a bit more careful.”
“I’m very proud to say that while married, I’ve always been faithful. I had told myself I would not indulge in infidelity and I never did. It is the greatest pain a human being can cause to their partner, which is why in all religions it is a sin,” he said.
Imran said that psychologist had advised him not to get married after his divorce with Jemima because his children might get adversely affected. But when the right time came, he married Reham Khan. However, it did not work out as she had her own family and he had his.
“I am 63 years old and have been married for only 10 years, but I am more of a staunch believer of marriage now than I ever was,” said Imran
Although Imran said that he did not have anyone in mind for the third marriage, he did not shy away from expressing what he was looking for in his third spouse.
“I never judge people for what they are. I’m not into looks that much. I’m not impressed by glamour or fashion. I get impressed by someone who has a belief system, convictions…” he said.
(The featured image at the top shows Pakistan cricketer turned political leader Imran Khan and this third bride to be his spiritual guru, Bushra Maneka)