ISLAMABAD: Imran Khan’s Bani Gala residence, which is also the de facto headquarters of his Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI), has been closed for official business in order to allow the party chief to spend some quality time with his children.
Imran’s sons are visiting him from the UK and he has taken some well-deserved time out of his busy schedule so that he can be at home with them. His Bani Gala mansion, which otherwise remains hub of political activities, remains off limits for such stuff for now.
The 64-year-old spent Friday with his sons – Sulaiman Isa Khan and Kasim Khan – before they leave for the UK after concluding their five-day trip to Pakistan on December 24 (today).
Unlike the past, Imran and his sons have not visited any hill station or recreational spot and their activities are limited to the executive mansion that was abuzz with back-to-back meetings and discussions among party leaders until his sons arrived.
“They watched movies, read books, enjoyed special meal, played cricket and to some extent discussed politics,” a close aide to Imran Khan said. The PTI chief’s elder son, Sulaiman Isa Khan, seems to have taken after his father as he, in recent past, showed interest in politics.
Early this year, Sulaiman had actively participated in Zac Goldsmith’s [his uncle’s] mayoral campaign in London through campaign’s youth wing. Sulaiman’s political presence in the campaign was also noticed by the UK’s local media that covered it thoroughly.
Imran Khan also campaigned for Goldsmith and was widely criticised in Pakistani media for not supporting a UK national of Pakistani origin Sadiq Khan. “Imran Khan and Sulaiman are often found discussing politics of the UK and Pakistan,” Imran aide added.
Imran Khan has these two sons from his former wife Jemima Goldsmith. The couple married in 1995 and separated in 2004. Both of their sons live with their mother but visit their father almost every year.
Imran’s passionate love for his sons is evident from the fact that he has dedicated his book – ‘Pakistan, A Personal History’ – to his sons and youth of the country. His political activities will return to normal on Dec 24. According to his schedule, he will be attending a public gathering in Swabi on Dec 25.
He will be on a two-day visit to Karachi starting from Dec 29. In Karachi he will lay foundation stone of Shaukat Khanum Memorial Hospital in DHA Phase 9. Almost 20 acres of land for the project has already been purchased. The ceremony will be attended by party leadership, civil society and donors.
On Dec 30, Imran Khan will chair party meeting and later visit Lyari area of Karachi. According to a senior party leader, Imran is also scheduled to meet the former PPP and MQM leader Nabeel Gabol during his Karachi visit.
In the first week of January, he is scheduled to address another rally in Punjab. The place of the rally is still to be finalised by the party. The Supreme Court of Pakistan will also resume hearing of the Panamagate case in first week of January 2017 that will once again raise the country’s political temperature.
Published in The Express Tribune, December 24th, 2016.