After a 10-month long marriage, Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf chairman Imran Khan and his wife Reham Khan have decided to part ways.
The PTI chief confirmed his and Reham’s decision to file for divorce via twitter on Friday. “This is a painful time for me and Reham and our families. I would request everyone to respect our privacy.”
“I have the greatest respect for Reham’s moral character & her passion to work for & help the underprivileged,” he added.
Imran , 62, married 42-year-old Reham Khan, a former BBC weather host and a divorced mother of three, in January this year in a simple ceremony at his Islamabad home.
Earlier in the day, PTI spokesperson Naeemul Haque confirmed that the couple has decided to divorce with mutual consent. “PTI chairman Imran Khan and Reham Khan have decided to divorce by mutual consent. Due to the sensivity and seriousness of this extremely painful matter it is requested that the media should refrain from any speculation. There will be no further communication in this respect,” the PTI spokesperson said, according to a post on the PTI chief’s official Facebook page.
Soon after the news broke, Reham took to Twitter and said, “We have decided to part ways and file for divorce.”
Further, according to reports Reham is in London and is expected to address a press conference there.
Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, following the news of divorce urged all Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz leaders to refrain from commenting on Imran Khan’s personal matters, Express News reported.
Meanwhile, commenting on the divorce, Nisar Khuhro said, “If I was PPP Punjab leader, I would have immediately invited Reham Khan to join our party.”
“Regardless of whether a woman is from the east or west, she can not survive with a person like Imran Khan,” he added.
Further, Punjab Law Minister Rana Sanaullah echoing Khuhro’s statement said, “No woman can stay with Imran Khan.”
Speaking to Express News, PTI activist and singer Abrarul Haq has said, “More women will vote for PTI now after Imran’s divorce.”
MQM MNA Ali Raza Abidi said, “Imran Khan has proven that he is unstable and cannot remain on a commitment. He is the wrong choice for a leader to lead as his ego is disastrous for himself and the country.”
Regarding upcoming local bodies elections, Abidi said, “The divorce will certainly affect the party’s political standing in the local bodies election.”
Soon after, PPP chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari also directed his party members to not make any adverse comments on Imran’s personal matters.
Reports regarding collapse of their marriage were circulating in the media for a while.
At the time of their marriage, it was reported that the Haq Mehr was set at Rs100,000.
Further, Imran denied reports regarding financial settlements as “absolutely false.”
Last month, the PTI chairman rejected a media report suggesting his marriage with Reham Khan was on the rocks.
“I am shocked at a TV channel making a slanderous statement about my marriage. I strongly urge the media to desist from such baseless statements,” the PTI chief said on microblogging website Twitter.
Imran’s statement came after a local media report alleged the cricketer-turned-politician’s wife was staying at his Bani Gala residence even though she was “not welcome there any longer.”
The report, citing the editor of a local daily newspaper, claimed that Imran had recently returned from London where he had recently stayed with his children and Jemima, his ex-wife.
“The relationship with Reham, already on the rocks, has worsened since Khan returned to Pakistan. Differences between the couple may have reached point of no return,” the report stated.
Imran and Reham’s relationship was a topic of controversy from the very start. Soon after the couple married, Reham’s ex-husband, NHS psychiatrist Dr Ijaz Rehman strongly denied allegations he had mistreated her during their marriage.
“I have never been involved in any kind of domestic violence in any shape or form,” said Dr Rehman, with whom she has three children. “I always looked after my children and wife very well.”
Further, Dr Rehman claimed she used him “like toilet paper to clean up her image” after she found herself harshly criticised by traditionalists in Pakistan who saw Imran’s bride as far too Westernised.
Further, months after their marriage, it was found that Reham had not attended the Lincolnshire college as she had claimed on her personal website. She said she studied journalism at ‘North Lindsay College’ in Scunthorpe.
However, the college confirmed that it had never taught journalism and had no record of her being a student. She subsequently changed her website to state that she went to the Grimsby Institute.
PTI party members had earlier also expressed concern over Reham’s participation in party politics after which Imran announced she will neither contest elections on a party ticket nor will attend any party gatherings.
In a series of tweets, the PTI chairman had expressed ‘disgust’ over attacks on Reham after the party lost NA-19, Haripur elections to a Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) candidate. “She only went to campaign there on insistence of the candidate,” he defended.
“For the record, Reham has only attended PTI functions at the constant insistence of PTI members, especially the women,” he added.
Reham had officially grabbed the driving seat for PTI in NA-19, Haripur and had been actively campaigning for the party during the by-polls. Earlier, Imranand his wife had denied rumours over the latter’s plans to enter the political arena. However, recent developments contradicted these claims. Reham addressed the political meetings in Hindko, Pashto and Urdu and urged locals to vote for Zaman.
The PTI chief had married television talk show host Reham Khan in a low-key ceremony attended by a handful of friends on January 8. The was conducted at his Bani Gala residence in Islamabad by Mufti Syed in an Islamic ceremony.
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.
In December last year, British tabloid newspaper Daily Mail had reported that the PTI chairperson had ‘secretly’ gotten married. Days after branding the report as “greatly exaggerated,” the PTI chairman before boarding a flight at Heathrow airport in January said, “I am going to Pakistan to share good news about my marriage with the nation. I have nothing to hide.”
The 62-year-old politician, who divorced heiress Jemima Goldsmith in 2004, had wed the 41-year-old divorced mother-of-three against the wishes of his party and family.