Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Chairman Imran Khan announced on Tuesday that his wife Reham Khan will neither contest elections on a party ticket nor will attend any party gatherings. The announcement was made in what appeared to be the result of criticism, both internal and external, after poor performance by the party in the NA-19 by-election.
Reham Khan had been actively campaigning for the party during the by-polls in NA-19, Haripur. She asked voters to honour their “daughter”, “sister” and “bhabi”, which in political terms was considered as ‘Reham Khan card’.
But the card could not help PTI get the desired results. Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) candidate Babar Nawaz emerged as the clear winner in the by-election, securing a little less than double the votes than his closest rival.
Following criticism, PTI expressed disgust over attacks on Reham after the party lost the election to PML-N. Later on, the party issued a statement which in itself was a clarification based on Khan’s tweets about Rehman Khan’s involvement in politics.
“She only went to campaign there on insistence of the candidate,” Imran Khan defended and added “For the record, Reham has only attended PTI functions at the constant insistence of PTI members, especially the women,” he added.
Further, Imran said, “Reham Khan will hold no party position, no position in KP; nor will be given any official protocol.”
“Reham Khan already has too much on her plate, especially working with street children. In future, she will not attend any PTI function/event,” he said.
However, Imran stressed his wife was ‘politicised’. Politicisation of women was one of the achievements of his sit-in held last year in the federal capital against the incumbent government.
The PTI chief also maintained that in NA-246 by-polls, he insisted Reham visit Karachi and the constituency.
Afterwards, Reham took to Twitter and endorsed the decision, saying “Sincere apologies to all the PTI related events I was invited to. I will not be attending any events linked to PTI anymore.”
“Khan and I have the same goal to see Pakistan prosper. He pursues it via a political party and I work voluntarily for educating our children,” she added.
Meanwhile, the PTI convened a meeting of parliamentary board (on Wednesday) to finalise the candidates for District and Tehsil councils. Imran Khan would chair the meeting.
Published in The Express Tribune, August 19th, 2015.