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January 9, 2015

Finally, Imran dons golden Sherwani, not black


January 9, 2015

ISLAMABAD: If Mughal emperor Shah Jahan built Taj Mahal in memory of his third wife, Imran Khan dreamt of Naya Pakistan to make his second wife the first lady of Pakistan. He wanted to wear black sherwani but ended up donning the golden one at his Bani Gala palace.
Father of three has tied the knot with the mother of three. It is official now. But why Imran did it haphazardly and amid strong opposition from the family and friends remains shrouded in the thick veil of secrecy. Awkward questions are also being raised about nikah. What is the difference between the nikah rituals publicly performed Thursday and the one secretly conducted in November? Mufti Saeed, the nikah khawan, is reluctant to answer.
If Imran’s politics has polarised Pakistan, his marriage has done the same at family and party levels. Imran-Reham union has triggered a split within the family. It is also being greeted with heavy heart by PTI heavyweights nursing the dream of leading the party one day. Now they see a rival in ambitious Reham who is being touted as political heiress of Imran. In short, Thursday’s simple ceremony attended by the witnesses of nikah was unhappy news for different people for different reasons.
While the rumour about marriage has turned into reality, one riddle is still unresolved: whether the nikah was performed on Thursday or a couple of months ago. Informed circles claim that nikah ceremony was held in early November that coincided with the Islamic month of Moharram.
Social media remained abuzz for weeks with reports that Mufti Saeed performed nikah in the presence of witnesses from bride groom’s side: Zakir Khan (former test cricketer), Aoun Chaudhry (former husband of actress Noor) and Naeem-ul-Haq. Nikah khawan was notified member of PTI’s core committee afterward. There were reports that nikah had been performed but not formally registered yet. Here it would be appropriate to mention that a significant part of the social media is known for

giving place to false information, rumours and propaganda.
The News approached Mufti Saeed to determine the veracity of these reports. He neither denied nor confirmed and instead advised that the question be put to Imran Khan. “Please don’t drag me into this. Ask Imran Khan instead. I will not comment,” he then said.
When contacted again after the formal ceremony on Thursday, Mufti Saeed said: “Nikah has been performed today”. Asked about the nikah conducted earlier, his reply was: “Leave this matter.” He again didn’t deny that, thus strengthening the long-held impression.
Imran’s close circles, however, contend otherwise. They reject reports of nikah in November as absurd, saying had Imran solemnised nikah in November, he would have announced it then, the way he did today (Thursday), they added.
The same witnesses who were mentioned in the social media as participants of the nikah ceremony in November attended the Thursday’s ceremony. None of Imran’s four sisters attended the ceremony and instead opted to stay in Lahore. Aleema Khan, his elder sister, has told close friends that she stood with her nephews (Imran’s sons from Jemima Khan) who didn’t approve of this new marriage either. “His sisters are in a state of mourning,” one family source confided to The News.
Even Imran’s close friend like Yousaf Salahuddin was opposed to the idea of this marriage, according to the sources. Nevertheless, he will be playing host to the ceremony being organised in Lahore, it has been learnt. Naeem-ul-Haq, Imran’s sidekick, has also been affected by this changing scenario. He was living at Bani Gala palace. Now, he has to rent a house for living.
Other than family and friends, the marriage has also turned out to be surprise news for PTI leaders. Shah Mehmood Qureshi’s reported plan of becoming PTI chairman has also been foiled. Informed circles foresee Reham as Imran’s political successor, but the idea is even hard to digest for the real power brokers credited with making PTI the third force. The word has it that they are reluctant to give security clearance to Imran for the top slot after this marriage, given Reham’s British citizenship. Reham, in a TV interview after nikah on Thursday, said that she was not interested in politics, rather she would continue journalism. It is interesting to note that Imran’s first wife, Jemima Khan, was also a journalist.

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