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Reham’s book may damage Imran Khan

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Pakistani opposition leader Imran Khan addresses his supporters at an anti-government protest in eastern Pakistan's Lahore on Sept. 28, 2014. Supporters of Pakistan's two opposition leaders, Imran Khan of Pakistan Tehrik-e-Insaf and Tahir ul Qadri of Pakistan Wami Tehrik attended the sit-in protest in Islamabad, demanding resignation of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and fresh polls. FILE PHOTO

Reham Khan’s autobiography portrays the former cricketing superstar and prime ministerial hopeful as a man who led “a bizarre life” of “sex, drugs and rock ‘n’ roll”. Reham Khan also claims that the 65-year-old Imran cannot read the Quran, believes in black magic, and had confessed that he has “some” illegitimate Indian children…..A special report by Rifan Ahmed Khan

 by . Just two weeks before Pakistan’s elections, it is difficult to predict how much the tell-all book by ex-wife Reham Khan may damage the electoral prospects of Imran Khan, a favourite of the country’s middle class. But it does expose him as the creature of the military establishment that has all but sponsored him by hiding his corruption and targeting his rivals.

Reham confirms what is widely known of his murky political past: that is the creation of late Lt. Gen. Hamid Gul, the one-time powerful ISI chief who created the Taliban and played a key role in Pakistan creating and supplying thousands of madrassah-trained fighters in the anti-Soviet war in Afghanistan.

The British-Pakistani journalist and social activist whose marriage to Imran in 2015 lasted barely a year, Reham reveals that Gul had told her that she was “not a suitable wife” for Imran because of her “foreign connections.”

She complains that Gul had deeply influenced Imran’s break-up with her. As evidence, she says Imran had shown her Gul’s terse message asking the former to “abort the marriage.” Imran had laughed off the message, but eventually, followed Gul, widely known as his political mentor.

Gul could not have liked Reham who says in her self-named, self-published book that she had warned Imran that the army was ‘using’ then prime minister Nawaz Sharif and discard it and that Imran would meet the same fate if army chose him to work against Nawaz.

Reham has proved prophetic about Nawaz and although she has no claims to being  spiritual soothsayer like Imran’s present wife Maneka Bushra, she could prove prophetic again in the years to come. Indeed, no soothsayer is needed to predict Imran’s political future, given his self-obsession and poor understanding of men and political issues.

 by . Reham has a passing word of praise for India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi who, she writes, has “a strong governance record” as Gujarat chief minister and wanted Imran to take the cue.

Although Imran Khan who has admirers of his cricket in India, as anywhere else, is not known to be anti-India like Hamid Gul was and other Islamists are, he was opposed to Reham making a visit to India to attend a conference.

She writes that Imran lacked courage to stop her and conveyed the message through his principal aide, Awn Chaudhary, who asked Reham to cancel her India visit.

Chaudhary has in the past figured as one of the key persons who worked for the Imran-Reham divorce.

It may be recalled that while the whole of Pakistan was celebrating the star-wedding in the third quarter of 2015, on December 16 that year, the Army Public School in Pehawar was attacked by terrorists who killed 134, mostly students.

Then known to be supportive of the Islamist groups, Imran did not immediately condemn the terror attack. But three days later, he took his bride Reham, both bedecked in rich finery, to a visit to the school. Angry parents of the dead children protested and the Khans were forced to withdraw from the school gate.

This, analysts in Pakistan surmised, was the first public outing by the star couple that had not gone well with the public.

Perhaps put off by this, Reham discloses in her book that Imran did everything to stop her from meeting other politicians and parliamentarians.

What\she does not say is that she had the good looks and glamour of Imran, 20 years her senior, but that Imran lacked her intellect and human touch.

The book, released by online giant Amazon, is available in Pakistan and is being surreptitiously devoured by people and talked about on media as per a muted report in Dawn newspaper that called the book’s release ‘surprising’ and steered clear of making any mention of the book’s content.

The respected, moderate newspaper is currently complaining that its copies are destroyed and not allowed to reach its readers, although it remains vague about who or what could be behind this.

Reham Khan’s autobiography portrays the former cricketing superstar and prime ministerial hopeful as a man who led “a bizarre life” of “sex, drugs and rock ‘n’ roll”.

Reham Khan also claims that the 65-year-old Imran cannot read the Quran, believes in black magic, and had confessed that he has “some” illegitimate Indian children.

In political terms, however, what must upset Imran’s military sponsors and supporters are Reham’s favourable references to the Sharifs now facing the elections with serious disadvantage.

Reham has praise for Nawaz, calls his daughter Maryam “a brave woman politician” and his brother Shahbaaz, currently heading the beleaguered PML-N, as a “no-nonsense and upright” administrator.

Even if Pakistan’s military establishment succeeds in installing Imran Khan as the prime minister, it cannot salvage his reputation that the book has totally sullied.

There are examples of  Italy’s Berlousconi doing well politically, but Pakistan is not Italy. Reham Khan and her book may have sown the seeds of Imran Khan’s political demolition.