On June 8, 2012, seasoned actor Atiqa Odho tied the knot with Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) founding member and architect Samar Ali Khan, at a small gathering in Karachi.
Her marriage to Khan has raised speculation about the couple’s respective political leanings, since Odho is known to be aligned with General (retd) Pervez Musharraf’s All Pakistan Muslim League (APML). But in an exclusive interview with The Express Tribune, Odho and Khan talk about their relationship and feelings towards their respective parties.
As we sat in a dimly lit room at Odho’s Clifton residence, I realised how beautiful the actor is in person. She entered wearing a copper coloured shalwar kameez; with light makeup and neatly painted nails, she was every bit as dazzling as one can imagine.
After a warm, jovial greeting, she sat by her desktop computer and related how it all happened. “This is a love match,” said the actor animatedly. “Love can happen at any age. I am happy to be married again. I love being at home and love having a family.”
This is Odho’s third marriage and she makes no qualms about it, “The third time around, a woman would be nervous,” she said frankly. “But I feel better equipped, older and more mature. I have seen more of life and can remember events as life’s experiences.”
Odho is confident about her marriage, and said that she believes in the institution of marriage more now than she ever has before. “One should not blame or base their failed relationships on the notion that marriage is a failed entity. How do we know till we try?”
As our conversation progressed, more than anything, Odho spoke about the importance of family. “When you have children, you cannot automatically distance yourself from your ex-husband’s family. The connection remains,” she said. “As a mother, it becomes my responsibility to minimise damage to my young children.”
At this point in our converstation, in walked Khan, dressed in a casual shirt and dark pants. The architect is known in his social circle as the man who charms the crowd with the mantra of joining the PTI and following Imran Khan. But as he sat across the room from Odho and the spotlight shifted from her to him, he looked subdued; concerned about the questions that might come his way. I ask the question that is making the rounds: has Odho succumbed to the PTI’s magnetism? His reply was short: “She does her thing and I do my stuff,” laughing off the question, but looking more relaxed.
“The circle I am from lives in a small bubble. But she and I are very different from these people,” he said, glancing at his better half. “I have found that she is a person who cares about human beings. It upsets her to see suffering and poverty!”
Odho joined the conversation, “He is one of the few people I have met who believes in community-building; an individual who is concerned about the country and its people,” she said warmly. “We are two people who have a deep connection with this country and we are certainly not letting that go.”
She described Khan as “an easy-going, happy-go-lucky person”, and added with a smile, “I am more of a recluse, he is more socially active!”
“I will help Samar in his goals. It took him 16 years with a lot of effort and hard work to be a part of this change. It must have been an exhausting task, telling people to change,” she added.
It is clear that the couple shares the same sentiments when it comes to family unity. “I am obsessed with my children,” said Khan. “I am certainly not the kind of father who will instill a fear in my children that I will abandon them after a relationship has broken down,” he said.
She added: “It says a lot about your character if you don’t care about your family.” She continued, “I will be more of a friend to his children, for I want to develop a friendship with them. They have a very good mother. I have strong maternal instincts but I want us to be friends,” adding that most of her conversations with Khan are about their children. “Samar has four and I have three of my own, so I am blessed to have a big brood.”
As far as Khan sees it, any relationship has to have a strong partnership based on giving; only then will there be a win-win arrangement. “In a partnership, both should feel that they are winning. Only then will it work.”
At the end, Odho talked about how the couple’s friends and family reacted to the news of their marriage. “Even before we went public with the announcement, I was amazed to know how much people wanted to know about us,” said Odho, with an amused look on her face. “From friends to family, all were happy for us. People came up to me and said, ‘It’s a good thing that this is happening’.”
“You see, we are not in our 20s,” she said, in a matter-of-fact tone. “We are on a certain level of maturity as we deal with this new beginning. In our marriage nothing will be a forced choice – we are too adult for things like that! We will just pray, work hard and do our very best.”
We wish the newlyweds a happily married life!
The political connection
“I am disappointed in Musharraf,” said Odho flatly, when asked about her alliance with the APML. “Some people have lost respect for him. He should come back to the country and face the music.”
While she said that she has not resigned from her position in the APML, she added that she has “completely taken a backseat in the party”.
“He has made mistakes, individuals do that, but he is an honourable man, a decent person,” she said, referring to Musharraf “If there is one person who can lead the country, I still believe it’s him. For now, I am very heart-broken.”
Published in The Express Tribune, July 5th, 2012.
Comments are moderated and generally will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive.
For more information, please see our Comments FAQ
Damn! She's pretty.
Why is my comment not published? When such pathetic ones are included. I fail to understand :-(
@M. Zubair: agreed with you Zubair
atiqa is so beautiful ,i am very fane of atiqa , many many congrulation to the couple.
mushraf - imran knots...........
It is good to be in association rather than being secluded. Good luck to both with the hope that this union goes on as heartbreaking again & again is not good for the heart itself.
She was caught trafficking liquor into Pakistan and bossman Musharraf decided that would be bad publicity for his new political party. This is the reason why she's heartbroken. Musharraf and her enjoyed drinking together in the past.
Heartiest Congratulations to a very Beautiful and a Handsome Couple!!!
I know AO and her family since Nov, 2009, She is a very honest, decent, caring and diligent lady but later on it seemed as she use to forget people who, ever have been in close circle, anyhow, its all about time!!!
Met and traveled with both AO and Mr. Khan to Swat in March 2010 where had a very good interaction with Mr. Khan as well, find him a very sober, mature and decent person.
Dear Couple, All the Best!!!!
My best wishes to the newly married couple,i knew atiqa from 1993 when she was running a parlour at clifton i have yet to meet a more decent women in the celebrity world,once again my best wishes.
My best wishes and blessings for the couple,i knew atiqa since 1993 when she was running a parlour at clifton,you hardly find such decency in our celebrity croud.Once again my best wishes to the new couple.
@Erum Qayyum agree 100%.
@Erum Qayyum: Dear Ms. Erum Qayyum, How sure can you say that man marries for lust and women for protection? And I think ladies from upper class are more safe than the lot in lower financial class of our country but still their matrimony dont last long. I think almost every female celebrity has married more than once. take a glance from Hollywood to Bollywood and to Lollywood.
a new compro for the name of politics, keep it up odho, PTI needs you as well as Musharaf due to pre elections agreement. Samar ali khan sb feels fortunate to be a part of this business. wish u success and happiness with the new assignment.
a man marries 4 times at a time for lust, a woman for protection. There is no comparison
@Erum Qayyum: They are now divorced as well
Now where is the question of a man getting married 4 times in Islam. A woman did it thrice, just one or may be half short to make it 4...Good luck for the next one Odho...I am too young for you...:)
Great to see two people with great intent for Pakistan build a life together, best wishes!
So what if they are from different parties. Have you all forgotten about the union between a kennedy and a republican - Arnold Arnold Schwarzenegger (republican) and Maria Shriver
@Marquez: especially when 'No one writes to the colonel'
Handsome couple. All the best to them and their children.
Love in the time of cholera is better than One hundred years of solitude!
Nice couple .... Best wishes.
Wasnt the honourable man a dictator who dragged us into the mess we are in. He had 10 years of absolute power. Does Ms. Odho want to give him another ten years?
Congratulations to decent couple; may they live happily forever.
She is beautiful mashallah. Congratulations to them both
I know her husband...a great noble, gentleman. Mubarak
Musharraf will come back inshallah..Ms Odho should understand politics