Received death threats in way that could not be proved in court of law
Reham Khan on Sunday stated that Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) had thought that it would scare her into silence, but it chose the wrong woman to mess with, a foreign media outlet reported.
“Instead of instilling fear in me, the threats made me realise that I needed to tell my story before they killed me. When someone doesn’t want a story to come out, it lights a fire in me to tell it with even more ferocity,” she said.
The 45-year-old British-Pakistani author, journalist and former wife of Pakistan’s new Prime Minister Imran Khan denied any correlation between the timing of her forthcoming memoir’s release and her ex-husband’s accession to high office.
“For years, I kept hearing rumours every few months about how I was writing an exposé,” Reham Khan said.
“The rumours started even before we got divorced, just four or five days after we decided to end our marriage. The divorce deed had not been delivered to me when they started.
“I had tabloids offering me ridiculous sums of money to talk about Imran and his lifestyle. I think his party, PTI, was nervous about what book I might write, so PTI workers started maligning my name every chance they got.
“Every time the PTI attacked Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) supremo and former prime minister Nawaz Sharif they claimed I was writing a slanderous book to undercut Imran. In some ways, it was the PTI’s obsession with this book that made me do it. I may have written it at some point, I’m a journalist, after all, but PTI made me focus on doing it,” she maintained.
Reham worked as a broadcast journalist in the UK for nearly a decade before moving to Pakistan in 2013 to work on TV news there. Her book, scheduled for release on Friday, has benefited from the ex-cricketers election win, even though she says that he and his party are “worse than naked dictatorship”.
Reham says that it was the possibility of death that became the defining factor that leads to her writing the book. “As Imran became more deeply entrenched in PTI, the frequency and severity of the threats intensified. I was a single mother of three. And the threats came in a way that could not be proved in a court of law – in the form of brotherly advice about how dangerous it would be to write a book that exposed Imran’s duplicity.
“When that happens to you for years, at some point you realise that there will be no one left to tell your story if you die,” she says. And so started the four-month-long process of sifting through entries in old journals, penning new notes, and putting her short-lived marriage – Reham and Imran were married for nine months in 2015 – in the context of Pakistan’s political landscape and Imran’s growing clout within it.
Reham started writing her book in September last year, and by December her first draft was ready. Despite global interest and coverage, she has struggled to publish it. Her current publishers, Harper Collins, have excluded Pakistan as a distribution territory for the book, which meant Khan has privately sold an unedited, uncensored version there. “With the help of a few friends and family, I printed some copies and we’re practically just distributing them in Pakistan – just so that people can know what the truth is,” the author says.