Even after its end, Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf chairman Imran Khan’s marriage is surrounded with as much controversy as it began with.
The cricketer-turned-politician announced his divorce to TV journalist Reham Khan last week in a move as unexpected as his marriage was and now speculations are rife as to why they both agreed to divorce just 10 months into the relationship.
According to British newspaper, Daily Mail, the marriage disintegrated “amid furious rows over everything from his friends to her attempts to ban his dogs from the bedroom.”
Although both Imran and Reham insist they parted amicably and with mutual consent, a source told the Daily Mail that the marriage finally ended when Imran texted ‘talaq’ three times to Reham. The text is said to have been followed by a brief email.
Reham, who received the message as she stepped off a plane that had taken her from Pakistan to Birmingham, is believed to have also received a confirmation call from Imran’s chief of staff.
The source said, Imran’s decision to divorce Reham in such a manner was an attempt to counter any fightback from her. “I don’t think she would have left the house if she had any inkling that it was on the cards,” the source added.
The report added, a shaken Reham was met by senior officials of PTI and driven to London, where one of Imran’s closest confidants began negotiating a financial settlement to annul the brief marriage.
Millionaire businessman Zulfi Bukhari met Reham at a hotel near Knightsbridge for over three hours before the pair drove off in his gleaming Bentley, according to the report. Bukhari has confirmed that “negotiations are still ongoing”.
Imran and Reham married in a low-key ceremony at his Bani Gala residence in January this year. However, insiders, say the divorced mother of three immediately set about taking over Imran’s hilltop house, telling friends it had been an “unruly and ill-disciplined household”.
Her first major change, it is alleged, was to throw Imran’s beloved pet dogs from his bedroom. “They were no longer allowed to sleep in their master’s inner sanctum or even be there during the daytime,” another source told the British newspaper. “Imran was upset when she had them shifted to a room outside the house and refused to budge despite his pleas,” the source added.
Further, the source continued, “Then the house was re-arranged to suit the needs of Reham’s youngest daughter who lived there, as well as the elder daughter and son, who often visited. Members of Reham’s family pretty much came and went as they pleased. On the other hand, Imran Khan’s nephews and nieces were made to feel unwelcome.”
The paper quoted a family insider as saying, “Their home became a battleground because Reham was determined to control every aspect of Imran’s life.”
“She made his life a living hell. The wonder is that things dragged on for as long as they did. They argued over his habit of sharing his bedroom with his dogs, and her jealousy over his continued close relationship with Jemima Goldsmith, his ex-wife and the mother of his two sons,” the family source added.
Further, Imran’s sisters who opposed his marriage to the TV journalist from the start refused to visit for as long as she was there.
Reham also divided opinion on the public stage and upset party members with her ambition for a leading role in party politics.
One party insider said, “It reached the stage where Imran was facing open revolt from his financial backers and party faithful.”
“He realised that the public obsession with what Reham was eating, cooking and wearing was deflecting from the political message.”
“She was becoming bigger news than him,” the party insider said.
On Saturday, Reham formally announced that divorce papers have been signed by her with her former husband. Contradicting the Daily Mail’s report, Reham said, “With a heavy heart we both decided before I left for England that it was best to part ways so our work commitments were not affected by our personal problems.”
During the announcement, Reham ruled out rumours of any agreement of a financial settlement as false. “It is unfortunate and condemnable how media has been indulging in unbecoming behavior and language,” she said.
“Media started with speculation and followed with serious accusations without evidence. The quest for ratings and the misogynistic witch hunt is shameful and I plan to campaign actively for a media ethics board monitoring all output,” she added.
Further, she said the reason for the divorce was “a breakdown in the relationship”.
She also rejected allegations that she had received Rs50 million from PTI leader Aleem Khan and Rs80 million from Faisal Wada, another leader of the PTI. The TV journalist said that the allegation of physical violence was “not only pure fiction but ludicrous”.
“The allegations of anyone poisoning Imran Khan are not based on fact and no stomach washing was ever carried out,” she said.
“Divorce is a painful experience and we would appreciate sensitivity and understanding from the media for both of us and our children at this difficult time. A malicious campaign against me and my children for over a year has driven us to this decision. I hope that now me and my children will be left alone to rebuild our lives,” Reham added.
Since the start of their marriage, Reham made headlines for all the wrong reasons. Soon after the couple married, Reham’s ex-husband, NHS psychiatrist Dr Ijaz Rehman strongly denied allegations he had mistreated her during their marriage. 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.
The PTI chairman and TV journalist confirmed their split on Twitter.
This article originally appeared on Daily Mail.