Imran Khan has gained a following of Pakistanis who extol him as a straight-shooting, outspoken political figure. Of course, Imran’s celebrity isn’t hurt by the fact that he led Pakistan to victory in their one and only win at the 1992 cricket world championship.
Khan has been leading a campaign for the resignation of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, but that’s perhaps caused less controversy among conservative Pakistanis than another recent action — Imran’s marriage to Pakistani talk show host and former BBC News correspondent Reham Khan, reported the Washington Post.
“For many conservative Pakistanis who adore Imran Khan and his anti-U.S. stance and perceived sympathy toward the Taliban, Reham’s divorcee status and her Western ways don’t bode well… This isn’t all: Last week, footage of Reham emerged showing her cooking sausages for a BBC South Today segment, where she is seen learning how to cook pork, a food that is forbidden in Islam. This fed into the image of Khan’s westernized, foreign air that didn’t quite fit in with an image that many of Khan’s followers had of the woman they hoped could be their future first lady.”
Imran and Reham are well-aware that their union isn’t being celebrated by the country’s less liberal citizens. When they married earlier this month, it was in a low-key ceremony that several family members chose not to attend, according to the Guardian.
“‘We are basically boycotting it,’ said a relative who did not wish to be named. ‘The family only hoped that he married a good person and we don’t believe she is. He is an icon and he deserves much better.’ The relative complained that little was known about the bride, a divorced mother of three who has never been seen in public with Khan except when she interviewed him for her Pakistani talk show last year. That conversation took place inside the converted shipping container Khan used as his base to lead months-long anti-government protests in Islamabad.”
Even with the surreptitious wedding, Imran has thrust his new wife into a media frenzy where many are attacking her character, particularly across social media. A recent photo, where the new Mrs. Khan is touching the back of another woman, has been passed around as possible evidence that Imran’s new wife is a lesbian.
— Thappar Kha (@gs2030) December 30, 2014
Imran Khan may be beginning to feel the repercussions of choosing this particular moment for marriage. The couple recently visited the site of the Peshawar school massacre, where 134 children were brutally murdered by the Taliban. Protesters outside the school rejected Imran’s appearance, accusing him of ignoring the tragedy in order to marry Reham, reported NDTV.
[Image via LiveCTV]