LONDON: A bitter fight has broken out between Imran Khan’s former wife Reham Khan and four individuals who claim that Reham Khan has mentioned them in her upcoming book in defamatory terms.
On Monday, a letter was released to the media from the PTI showing that Reham Khan’s former husband Ijaz Rehman, former cricketer Wasim Akram, British Pakistani businessman Zulfi Bukhari and Anila Khawaja, British Pakistani female activist linked with PTI, citing “defamatory and malicious” content in her upcoming autobiography.
A “pre-action defamation protocol” letter, addressed to Reham Khan by a West London law firm, representing Rehman, Akram, Imran Khan’s close aide Zulfi Bukhari and PTI’s media coordinator Anila Khawaja, claims that the manuscript of her purported autobiography titled “Reham Khan” contains a “litany of malicious, false, incorrect, highly misleading, callous, wanton, tortuous, prejudicial, damaging, libelous and defamatory” imputations against its clients.
A source at law firm confirmed that Zulfi Bukhari has instructed the firm on behalf of himself and three others. The law firm has on its panel Mehtab Aziz, who has previously represented Imran Khan in many legal cases in the UK.
The letter adds that “our clients will be seeking full redress through the courts for the serious damage and harm” the book is anticipated to inflict on them. Reham Khan's upcoming autobiography has sparked an altercation in both mainstream and social media. It is said to revolve around her marriage to PTI chief Imran Khan, which ended in a divorce mere 15 months later.
The manuscript of her book was leaked online, which irked several PTI leaders who took to Twitter to accuse her of being part of an "agenda" ahead of the upcoming general election.
The letter stated that legal action will be initiated in Pakistan too by “Hamza Ali Abbasi, Murad Saeed, Pervaiz Khattak, Umer Farooq, Mohsin Aziz, Asad Umer, Zakir Khan, and Mian Yousaf Salahuddin”.
It said that “there are defamatory imputations against Sayed Z Bukhari at pages 464 and 539 of the manuscript. Mr Rehman has accused of multiple failings in his marriage through much of the manuscript beginning with the chapter entitled 'The Door’ at page 5. Mr Rehman is portrayed (wrongly our client asserts) as being nasty, mean and cruel. You have accused Mr Rehman of assault at various points in your manuscript which are detailed in Schedule A. At one point you imply that this has gone on for 12 years throughout your marriage but at another point in your manuscript you contradict this when you state that the violence only started after your son Sahir was born.”
It said that the paragraphs about Wasim Akram were defamatory. The letter said that allegations against Anila Khawaja were baseless. It went on: “Each of our clients is shocked and dismayed by the malicious and false imputations contained in the manuscript and takes serious exception to the same as these are clearly intended to cause harm to their reputation and standing and have the object of defaming our clients. We believe that these manuscripts, contain serious, untrue and highly defamatory comments towards our clients and contain malicious falsehood. Our clients will be seeking full redress through the courts for the serious damage and harm your book is anticipated to no doubt inflict on our clients.”
The letter demanded of Reham Khan that she should retract all allegations and ensure that the book will not be published or else legal action will be initiated.
Meanwhile, Reham Khan has said that she has initiated a defamation case against PTI’s Hamza Abbasi seeking damages and apology over his “baseless allegations".
Reacting to the latest development in the controversy surrounding her upcoming autobiography, Reham said she will not tolerate PTI's baseless allegations.
"I am being bullied but [they] have [chosen] the wrong woman to go after. I will not tolerate baseless allegations by PTI. I challenge PTI to prove a single allegation against me," she said.
Reham questioned the joint-legal action by her former husband Ijaz Rehman, former cricketer Wasim Akram, British Pakistani businessman Zulfi Bukhari and British Pakistani PTI official Anila Khawaja.
"I can't understand how PTI can serve a legal notice on behalf of Dr Ijaz Rehman. Is he a spokesperson, or holds a position in PTI? What you are saying is not a legal notice as far as I understand. It’s worth nothing," she said.
Reham Khan claimed that the PTI has chosen to fight through the media because it has control over media and anchors and that’s why it decided to leak legal notice to the media as it has lost legal value.
“I will ask PTI to hire decent people who could advise them on media and defamation laws in the UK,” she said. Reham took a jibe at his former husband's party by saying: "They should change legal counsel. I was saying the same thing during the judicial commission hearing," adding, "When I was in Banigala I used to say the same thing, don't go into what the anchors are saying."
Reham challenged the party to present proof to back up its allegation that she took £100,000 from Shahbaz Sharif.
"PTI's allegation is just like another 35 punctures story, full of lies." She added that she has not received any legal notice from the PTI but she has sent a legal notice to PTI leaders for defaming her.
"We have sent a defamation notice to Hamza Abbasi. We have made it public. Those who we have sent the legal notice, they won't even tweet about it. We have taken them to the court," she said.
"Hamza Abbasi said that he doesn't have any proof to back up his allegation. PTI has made this its habit, maybe PML-N can tolerate it but Reham Khan won't. I will fight."
Reham refuted the allegation that former interior minister Ahsan Iqbal arranged any meeting of her with any PML-N senior party member.
"Let me give free advice to the PTI. The party's social media team should be fired. Include those who can write English and type well. Forgery is illegal, but even if you are doing it at least do it professionally because once you put anything on social media, even if you have deleted it, its record remains there," Reham said.
INP adds: Reham Khan denied an earlier allegation by Fawad Chaudhry of having met Maryam Nawaz.
The former journalist and author had remained at the centre of controversy after the manuscript of Reham’s book was leaked online, which irked several Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) leaders who took to Twitter to accuse her of being part of an agenda ahead of the upcoming general elections.