- Cricketer-turned-politician Imran Khan divorces TV anchor Reham Khan hardly 10 months after marriage
- PTI sources say Reham’s obsession with taking charge of PTI and entering politics, financial issues and a violent temperament led to breakup of relation
Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Chairman Imran Khan and Reham Khan have divorced with mutual consent after 10 months of marriage, PTI spokesperson Naeemul Haq said Friday, confirming what Pakistan Today Editor Arif Nizami had revealed almost a month ago (Sept 22) in his talk show, DNA on Channel 24.
The cricketer-turned-politician tied the knot with the divorced mother-of-three in January, sparking an angry backlash within party ranks. Sources say the couple had argued about her plans to enter politics while Khan had also faced pressure from his family to end the relationship.
After news of the divorce broke, Imran Khan tweeted that this is a painful time for him and Reham. He requested everyone to respect their privacy.
In another tweet, Imran said “I have the greatest respect for Reham’s moral character & her passion to work for & help the underprivileged”.
Reham Khan in her tweet said, “We have decided to part ways and file for divorce.”
However, the devil lies in the details.
According to Mr Nizami, Reham’s growing interest in politics, her tendency to resort to violence and allegations that she had obtained financial favours from some party members and private individuals had led to the collapse of her marriage with the cricketer-turned-politician.
According to the senior journalist, the couple had a big fight at their Bani Gala residence a few days ago after Reham reportedly refused to send a car to pick up Imran Khan’s sister from the airport. Mr Nizami’s sources said that Reham, who has a history of violent behavior with her two previous husbands, physically attacked Imran Khan and that probably proved to be the last straw that broke the camel’s back.
According to Mr Nizami, party insiders had informed him that Reham was not ready to give up her political ambitions and “wanted to take over the party fully”. The insiders said that Reham had also reportedly obtained a hefty sum from a PTI leader based in Lahore and was wooing a top property tycoon to finance her film projects.
“Earlier, Reham had bought expensive wedding dresses from a renowned boutique and two top designers but defaulted on the payments. The dresses were eventually returned to the designers when Khan refused to foot the bill,” sources said.
According to Mr Nizami, talks of a divorce between the couple were going on for quite some time, with both sides agreeing on a deal to keep their private matters out of media glare and modalities of a financial compensation for Reham.
According to some sources, Reham had demanded a whopping Rs 180 million to part ways while some other sources put the settled amount at Rs 80 million. Mr Nizami said that a financial settlement could not be ruled out because the PTI chairman would want to keep their personal matters under the wraps.
The Pakistan Today editor further revealed that Reham Khan was taken aback when she checked her email after landing in Britain on Friday because Imran Khan had divorced her on mail the same morning. “Reham was not expecting a formal divorce so soon,” he said.
Mr Nizami said that a large number of PTI leaders and workers were visibly disturbed by Reham’s obsession for politics and were wary that she might “hijack” the party. Some even believed that Reham could even ‘poison’ Imran Khan to death to take charge of the party. And then there were some who believed that Reham was a British agent planted on Imran Khan by the MI6, Britain’s external intelligence agency.
The senior journalist lamented that when he had first broken the news, PTI trolls and some fellow journalists had subjected him to severe criticism and accused him of spreading false news, but now the official confirmation of his information has vindicated his reportage.
Rumours of the end of the marriage first circulated in August when Reham was campaigning to support a candidate from her husband’s party in a by-election in Haripur, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. The candidate lost the vote and later Khan announced that his wife would not have a political career with his party.
While the couple was seen together on some occasions, Imran tweeted an apparent refutation of the rumours last month: “I am shocked at a TV channel making slanderous statement about my marriage. I strongly urge the media to desist from such baseless statements.”
When asked that why the news was revealed a day before the local government elections in Punjab and Sindh, the party spokesperson Naeemul Haq responded that Imran Khan has requested the media to avoid speculations on the issue.
A source close the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) chairman said the couple were ‘just not getting along’ anymore.
“She wanted to get involved with politics and that is not what Khan wanted at all,” the source said
“She just did not want to sit at home. There were teething problems as well over other issues which were being resolved but this was a major issue – she wanted to get into politics and was not ready to back down.”
Another confidante said there was ‘a lot of pressure on Khan’ from his family to divorce Reham.
Reham, host of a local TV talk show, was widely criticised after she appeared at public meetings of Imran Khan’s Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaaf (PTI) party, with opponents accusing her of seeking to boost her own profile through her husband’s fame.
She found particularly harsh reception in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province, governed by PTI.
She also sparked controversy after it emerged that she had not actually attended a college where she claimed to be a student on her website. Khan’s political rivals used the marriage to attack Khan by emphasising her Jewish roots.
The couple married at a low-key wedding ceremony in Islamabad – but not a single member of his family was invited.
Khan’s sisters did not attend the ‘nikkah’ – Islamic marriage ceremony – amid reports they did not approve of the match.
In its early days, the marriage was marked by public appearances of the newlyweds who were seen smiling and happy at various events. Reham on several occasions had candidly expressed her feelings for Imran, saying he is “no longer alone”. In an early interview, she had said: “I didn’t know Mr Khan was Mr Right, you wait your whole life for Mr Right and then you find Mr Most Right.”
Reham had recently also sparked controversy after it emerged that she had not actually attended a college where she claimed to be a student on her website.
Born in 1952 in Lahore into a comfortable family with origins in the Pashtun northwest, Imran Khan was educated at Aitchison College and then Oxford University.
He became one of the world’s greatest ever all-rounders — a fearsome fast bowler and dangerous batsman — whose finest hour came at the 1992 World Cup, where at the age of 39 he led an inexperienced team to the title.
Off the pitch, he had a string of socialite girlfriends and frequented exclusive nightclubs in London until he married Jemima Goldsmith, the daughter of the French-British tycoon James, in 1995
His marriage with the Jemima lasted for nine years and ended amicably in 2004 with Goldsmith stating that she was unable to adapt to life in Pakistan.
Imran Khan has two sons from his previous marriage to Jemima.
Reham Khan was previously married to psychologist Ijaz Rehman, with whom she had three children.