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Imran Khan says Sharif behind ‘vicious’ campaign over his plans to marry again

Imran Khan's tweets came hours after Sharif told reporters it was "sad that Khan has gone into hiding" since the rumours of his marriage began doing the rounds.

world Updated: Jan 10, 2018 00:01 IST
Imtiaz Ahmad
Imtiaz Ahmad
Hindustan Times, Islamabad
Imran Khan,Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf,Nawaz Sharif
File photo of Imran Khan, chairman of the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf political party, speaking with a Reuters correspondent during an interview at his home in the hills of Bani Gala on the outskirts of Islamabad on July 29, 2017. (Reuters)

Cricketer-turned-politician Imran Khan on Tuesday broke his silence on reports of his plans to marry again in a series of tweets, accusing former Pakistani prime minister Nawaz Sharif of being behind the "vicious" campaign.

Sharif denied the allegation and said he would not stoop so low.

Pakistan’s political circles have been abuzz with speculation about the 65-year-old chairman of the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf marrying for a third time after an English daily reported on Saturday that he had married a woman who was his spiritual guide. The party issued a statement on Sunday that said Khan had only proposed marriage to Bushra Maneka, a divorcee and ‘pir’ (faith healer).

Khan tweeted, "For 3 days I have been wondering have I looted a bank; or money laundered bns in nation's wealth; or ordered a model-town-like killing spree; or revealed state secrets to India? I have done none of these but discovered I have committed a bigger crime: wanting to get married."

He alleged the "vicious, gutter media campaign" was being led by “NS” (PML-N party chief Nawaz Sharif) and MSR (Mir Shakil-ur-Rahman), the owner of the Jang media group, which first reported the story . Khan went on to say he was only concerned about "his children and the very conservative family of Bushra begum, all of whom have been subjected to this malicious campaign by NS & MSR".

In another tweet, he said, "NS & MSR can rest assured that their vicious campaign has only strengthened my resolve to fight them all the way." Going after the former premier, he added: "I have known the Sharifs for 40 years and I know all their sordid personal lives, but I would never stoop to the level of exposing these sordid details."

He also tweeted, "All I ask of my well wishers and supporters is that they pray I find personal happiness which, except for a few years, I have been deprived of."

Khan's tweets came hours after Sharif, while speaking to the media outside an anti-corruption court in Islamabad, said that it was "sad that Khan has gone into hiding" since the rumours of his marriage began doing the rounds, and left the woman's children to give explanations.

Sharif said that he "never launches personal attacks", adding: "If he (Khan) has done something like this, he should come out and admit it."

The Tehreek-e-Insaf statement had added that Maneka is yet to accept Khan’s marriage proposal. She will make a decision after consulting her family and her children.

Maneka, who is in her forties, is from the Wattoo clan, of which the Manekas are a sub-clan. She was married to Khawar Farid Maneka, a senior customs official in Islamabad.

Khan had first tied the knot with British socialite Jemima Khan in May 1995. The union ended in divorce in June 2004. His second marriage to TV anchor Reham Khan in January 2015 had also ended in divorce in 10 months.

He had said in a 2016 interview with Hindustan Times that he would not give up the idea of marrying again.

“It’s not in my blood to give up. But it takes a lot…(the idea of marriage) is even more open than before. But marrying at 60 is not like marrying at 30,” Khan had said.

First Published: Jan 09, 2018 17:13 IST