Imran Khan married television talk show host Reham Khan in a low-key ceremony attended by a handful of friends on Thursday.
The Nikkah of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaaf [PTI] chairman was conducted at his Bani Gala residence in Islamabad by Mufti Syed in an Islamic ceremony.
The 62-year-old cricket star-turned-politician appeared in a cream-coloured Sherwani, the national dress of Pakistan, while his 41-year-old bride Reham wore an off-white Peshwaz dress with red brocade border. Reham, previously a BBC weather host, is a divorced mother of three.
“There are no wedding or valima receptions. Tomorrow [Friday] food will be distributed amongst poor children,” Imran’s party spokeswoman Shireen Mazari said, referring to additional marriage events typical of traditional, elaborate Pakistani weddings.
The PTI chief 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 Peshawar school that killed nearly 150 people, mostly children.
Speaking about his party leader’s nuptials, a PTI official was cited by the Guardian newspaper as saying that “this is not the time to celebrate anything”.
Another party spokesperson said the wedding was deliberately kept small to honour the dozens of schoolchildren who died in the attack on the Army Public School last month
Absent from the ceremony were key members of Imran’s family. According to the Daily Mail, Imran’s sisters did not attend the ‘nikkah’ amid reports they do not approve of the match.
The newspaper quoted Aleema Khan as saying: “We were neither aware nor informed of the Nikkah prior to this.”
However the bride’s mother, sister and two close friends were all present for the intimate ceremony, according to her nephew Yusuf Khan. He said: “I am very close to her, she is like my mother. We have decided to hold a small reception tomorrow. There were only a few close friends of Imran Khan present at the occasion.”
“The majority of our family lives in Britain and the United States and that is the reason only my mother, grandmother and I attended it from close family.”(With additional input from news wires)
Published in The Express Tribune, January 9th, 2015.