Nawaz Sharif, Imran Khan

PM bars party leadership from commenting on Imran-Reham divorce

ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has directed his PML-N leaders not to discuss or make comments on Imran- Khan’s divorce matter. The statement was issued from Prime Minister House.His move came a little late as Punjab Law Minister Rana Sanullah in his statement had criticised Imran and alleged that his mental condition could now be gauged from this action.Earlier in the day the news of Imran Khan and Reham’s divorce spread like wild fire on electronic and social media.There were mixed reactions from the leading politicians with majority suggesting Imran-Reham divorce as their personal matter and urged not to comment on it. PTI top leader Fauzia Kasuri and Shireen Mazari requested party workers to focus on election and that the divorce had nothing to do with politics. “We must respect the privacy of Imran and Reham on what is the difficult and painful time for them both,” tweeted Shrireen. In response Deputy Speaker Sindh Assembly Shehla Raza tweeted “Koi aur karay to character dhela hai” (if someone else does it they say he is characterless person). “Y don’t PTI respect the privacy of others always bad words for others,” she further tweeted and suggested “Imran Khan ki second wicket bhi out. Best chance for hatrick”. PPP leader Sharmila Farooqi tweeted “Oh come on! Give all of us a break! We have a national calamity to deal with. Focus on relief to #earthquake survivors.”

Meanwhile on Twitter many people were of the view that it was Imran Khan’s personal matter while some criticised the other parties of trying to make political mileage out of this situation considering that the news break came on the eve of Punjab’s local bodies election.Earlier in the day Imran Khan had spoken of his pain after his wife Reham confirmed their divorce earlier today. Reham Khan tweeted “We have decided to part ways and file for divorce.”There were unconfirmed reports that disagreements within the Khan family, in particular between Reham and Imran Khan’s sisters had been a factor in their discord.PTI spokesman Naeemul Haq said the divorce was mutually agreed by both 63-year-old Imran and 42-year-old Reha and pleaded with the media to allow the family their privacy and not judge them. “The divorce is a personal matter and should not be judged politically. It was mutually decided between Imran and Reham,” he said.

They married in a simple ceremony at Imran Khan’s residence at Bani Gala, Islamabad but rumours of a rift have been circulating for several weeks.Following confirmation of their divorce by both the PTI spokesman and Reham Khan, Imran issued his own statement speaking of his pain at their separation and pleading for privacy. “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 and her passion to work for and help the underprivileged….reports and speculation about financial settlements are absolutely false and shameful,” he added.

His comment followed media claims that they had agreed a divorce settklement in which Reham would receive Rs180 million – around $1.8 million – along with diamond and gold jewellery. At the time of their marriage, it was reported that the Haq Mehr was set at Rs100,000. However, PTI sources say that secretary general PTI Jehangir Tareen has paid a Haq Mehr of around Rs 80 million on behalf of Imran.

Imran Khan’s sisters issued a joint statement reinforcing his call for privacy in the days ahead. “Please don’t interfere in our personal family matters, please respect our privacy,” they said.

Tensions between Imran and Reham had been going on for many months. She had sought an active role in politics whereas PTI leaders did not view it as good for the party. They did not want the stigma of a family running the affairs of PTI as they criticised the PML-N and PPP for it. Imran had announced that she would not play any pivotal role in the party and barred her to take part in political activities.

Yesterday Imran’s visit to his sister Dr Uzma residence in Lahore was seen as an indication that something had happened in the family. Dr Uzma was reported to be angry at Imran for not taking her into confidence before the marriage. Earlier both the brother and sister were not on speaking terms. Yesterday Imran took two hours from his hectic election campaign schedule to visit her.

He had previously strongly denied any rumours of a rift in the relationship. The news of his divorce one day before the important local bodies election in Punjab may be disturbing news for PTI workers and voters and may have an impact on the PTI’s vote.

It was unclear today whether the couple had agreed their separation some time before Reham travelled to Britain to appear at a PTI conference in Birmingham. There were also questions over why the party confirmed the divorce on the eve of the crucial local bodies election – a development which could affect the party’s showing in the polls.


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