ISLAMABAD: When pictures of third marriage were made public to give an impression that nikah ceremony took place on February 18 instead of January 1, the next challenge for Imran Khan was to keep his nikah khawan silent.
Thus the PTI chairman, the bridegroom, made a humble request to Mufti Saeed as his disclosure about the real date of nikah would create serious implications for Imran Khan who was declared Sadiq and Ameen by the Supreme Court only 16 days before his secret nikah performed during iddat period. In Islam, iddah or iddat (period of waiting) is the period a woman must observe after the death of her spouse or after a divorce, during which she may not marry another man).
“Media will chase you. They will try to provoke you (into disclosure) as you are a gentle fellow. You are to protect my honour at all costs. I had trusted you before and you honoured it. Please make sure you don’t talk on this issue,” Imran appealed.
As he kept urging secrecy, nikah khawan interrupted: “Allow me to answer. You said this and I have agreed (not to disclose). That’s it,” the Mufti replied. Imran promised to induct him in core group of the PTI.
This was not the first time Imran prayed this, the Mufti said, sharing inside story of nikah with his close friends. Earlier, he explained, the discussion converged to this point when Farah Jabeen commended him for jealously guarding the secret by dodging the media queries. Farah is the confidante of Bushra Bibi who was present on both occasions -- the real one which took place on January 1 and the symbolic one performed on February 18 to grab photos for the media consumption.
“The man who played the smartest is Mufti Saheb. He didn’t utter a word when confronted by media,” she told Imran, while pointing towards the nikah khawan. “He is our mufti after all,” the PTI chairman replied with a sense of pride and then turned to Mufti Saeed: “I hope, you will never break silence (on this issue).” Farah didn’t comment when asked about this.
The Mufti isn’t only the most sought-after person by the media; he has been facing awkward questions even from within the PTI. That why he risked his credentials by performing nikah before iddat is the oft-asked question. “Explaining this that I was kept in dark (about iddat) is very difficult for me,” he said sharing his dilemma with a confidante.
“My defence is that there was no point of asking when the couple was already aware of the fact that marriage couldn’t be solemnised during iddat. They should have told me. I couldn’t have asked this out of courtesy,” he reportedly said.
Mufti Saeed neither denied nor confirmed when approached by The News for version. He rather insisted on not talking about this issue. “I will not speak on marriage issue,” he curtly replied when asked if it was true that Imran requested the protection of his honour through silence.
One of his confidantes said that Mufti Saeed is under a firm commitment not to speak on this matter. “There will be a big drama if I uncover the truth. How can I tell that I blindly trusted (the couple about iddat),” the Mufti shared his thoughts in his close circle. Divorce had occurred on November 14, according to sources in Maneka family. This fact was further corroborated by Farah Jabeen who had told Geo in an interview that iddat completed on February 14.
The Mufti had opted for silence also in the past when controversy cropped up over Imran’s marriage with Reham Khan. The first nikah was performed on October 31, 2015 (which was confirmed by Reham in a recent interview) but always denied by Imran and a symbolic ceremony was held on January 8, 2016.
His strategy didn’t change this time either. As The News broke story of the PTI chairman’s nikah with Bushra Bibi on January 1 this year, Mufti Saeed didn’t comment notwithstanding the fact that the PTI issued a denial, though 24 hours after the publication.
As the controversy followed after the release of pictures on February 18 that why nikah khawan and witnesses remained the same already named by The News if the story of earlier nikah was false, the Mufti replied this question in a close circle that it was not possible for a couple of reasons: “Since nikah was performed earlier, any change in characters was therefore not an option and that Imran needed the persons of confidence to guard the secret so he made a careful selection of witnesses and nikah khawan.” Paper work of nikah was done on January 1; only the dates were not entered then, according to an insider.
The Mufti, it has been learnt, was pressed many a time in the past to deny The News story (published on January 6) through a press conference but he refused to do so. He rather insisted on knowing the divorce date which he was never told.
There is a widespread concern among the PTI leaders over Imran’s marriage with the mother-of-five who got divorce for becoming his wife. Imran justified his decision, it has been learnt, that the marriage will bring goodwill for the future of party.
Summing up his impressions of two journeys with Imran Khan for nikah ceremonies, the Mufti said the PTI chairman appeared to have given up. “He is broken and disappointed. It seems as if he has lost hope in politics. Apparently, he is fine but defeated internally.”
Defeat in Lodhran has had a serious impact on Imran who thought his marriage will avert such crisis in future. This optimism echoed in his conversation. Soon after nikah, Imran demanded dialing of Tareen’s number. As he attended, Imran said: “I have done this (nikah) for the reason that you win the next elections.”
The conversation dropped after brief exchanges. Imran rang again for complaining Tareen that he didn’t congratulate him on marriage and repeated that it had been done to ensure victory in elections. Tareen said there were no telephonic exchanges and instead he sent me a message. “Whatever, it was a personal message and there was no mention of future elections,” he told The News.
Tareen would later have face to face interaction with Bushra Bibi during waleema dinner. As Imran was introducing the guests to his bride, it was Tareen’s introduction where a brief exchange occurred. “I want to let you know that I am not a jadoogarni (magician),” Bushra said, according to a person who was in attendance. An insider said Tareen had different views about her and Bushra thought to let him know she was aware of this.
Tareen was hesitant to react when asked. “This was a private dinner where many discussions took place. It is inappropriate on your part to ask about private exchanges,” he said and then denied this. “If I don’t deny you will write that I neither denied nor confirmed, therefore, let me say I deny this,” he explained.
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