Instead of focusing on election preparation, Imran Khan’s party has spent the last fortnight creating a furore over a book that hasn’t even been published yet. The book in question is, of course, his ex-wife Reham Khan’s book which apparently tells the inside story of the marriage, highlights the contradictions of Khan and details the machinations of various party influentials who conspired to get rid of her.
PTI leaders and the party’s social media wing are completely hysterical about the book, alleging that it is full of lies and is a conspiracy to undermine them in the July elections. However, they are the ones who have kept this book in the news and provided it with a blitz of publicity. It is unclear if Reham Khan’s book even has a publisher but the publicity provided by the PTI itself, has certainly helped in its marketing.
Many western publishers may be wary of the book for legal reasons (potential libel suits), but it is extremely likely that a publisher in a part of the world where prosecution is avoidable will seize the opportunity to take on a book that is likely to sell very well.
The level of discussion has been dreadful. The ex-wife has been attacked and maligned by hundreds of PTI tweeters, Imran-devotee Salman Ahmed has revealed various unflattering conversations with her while the likes of Fawad Chaudhry and Hamza Abbasi have been on prime time tv saying horrible things about the lady’s character and integrity. Along the way, aspersions have been cast not just on her character and morals but also on her financial dealings. They insist that she has been funded by their rival party, Nawaz Sharif’s PML-N, and that former journalist, political consultant and ambassador Husain Haqqani has played a key role in the whole process.
This is pretty bizarre considering that Haqqani, once a PML spokesperson, minister and ambassador, bailed on Nawaz Sharif’s party many years ago. But, of course, in the public imagination he has replaced Asif Zardari as Evil Enemy Number One…
The conversation (or rather the shouting) around the book has been very misogynistic. There has been much talk of the lady’s morals and of her wearing or not wearing a dupatta, and how she “poses a danger to an Islamic society”. She is portrayed as an evil, exploitative, ambitious and untruthful woman whose book is merely an act of revenge. And the PTI keeps on and on shouting that she is part of a conspiracy to defame their beloved leader.
Reham Khan is not the first political ex-wife to write such a book: almost three decades ago Punjab’s former First Lady Tehmina Durrani wrote (or co-wrote) a similar book about her ex husband, PPP’s former ‘Sher-e-Punjab’ Mustafa Khar, titled My Feudal Lord.
An ex-wife is easily exploited by certain lobbies, especially those with financial clout, but why has the PTI made such a fuss about Reham Khan’s manuscript?
And does Imran Khan actually need this despicable defence team? His life as a celebrity playboy and longtime bachelor is well known, as are the various untruths he has chosen to subscribe to (dates of weddings, staging of photo op weddings, paternity, smoking and substance use etc etc) over the years. He has a vast, devoted and near fanatical following in the electorate and many voters are in favour of now ‘giving him a chance’ to govern. To his credit, he has been extremely dignified in the matter of his ex-wives and never said anything negative about either one of them which actually will only work to his advantage in the face of Reham Khan’s ‘revelations’.
So why then does his party doth protest so much? The wife’s exposé is ‘pre-poll rigging’? Really?
Sounds more like a clever publicity stunt…