‘Imran Khan fails to meet expectations of Pakistanis’

Reham Khan, former wife of Pakistan’s prime minister Imran Khan, talks on wide-raging issues from politics to personal relations — during an interview with Dr Anil Singh. She not only highlights the other side of Imran Khan’s personality but also sheds light on the current nature of relations between India and Pakistan and how these relations ought to be in near future from her perspective.

Edited Excerpts from an interview •

REHAM KHAN-46 YEARS
BRITISH-PAKISTANI JOURNALIST

You have observed Pakistan and its Prime Minister Imran Khan from close quarters. On every ocassion, you have always come forth with precise comments on the country and Imran Khan. What kind of image you had in your mind about Pakistan and under what conditions you find it at present?

 As far as Pakistan is concerned and the conditions through which it passing currently, I had anticipated long ago that it was moving in that direction. At present, Pakistan is passing through a crucial phase. The people had nurtured high expectation from Imran Khan. Nevertheless, he has not met their expectations as you can see that youth in the country is very angry. Anarchy is prevailing. People are baying for each other’s blood. Reasons for this country’s deteriorating economy. No ray of hope is visible for the people. One year has passed and during this period, the government has not undertaken any positive measure. As a result, people have lost all hopes and become desperate. Due to this hopelessness and despair, a condition of restlessness is being created among the people. People are jobless and economy is in shambles. Situation has not stabilized. I feel that a violent current is running through the society. This is very disturbing for Pakistan.

Relations between the two countries are constantly deteriorating. The way Imran Khan started interfering in the internal affairs of India such as abrogation of Article of 370 regarding J&K, which is an internal affair of India, he embarked on a mission denouncing India worldwide. Apart from this, the manner in which ruckus over Citizenship Amendment Bill was engendered; where do you think he is taking Pakistan?

As far as Imran’s talking about Article 370 is concerned, we in Pakistan believe that he did not speak on Kashmir. Complete planning about Kashmir is usually worked out during the election campaign in Pakistan. In the country, Imran is held guilty and accused of the fact that he did not raise the issue of Kashmir properly, even though he had one year.

Abrogation of Article 370 happened in August 2019. But from August 2018 to 2019, he did nothing. Now if he is talking about Article 370, he is doing so because he has got an issue in hand. His performance is almost negligible. I understand that India and the Modi government have given him a gift. When we question him about the US dollar going up (vis-à-vis Pakistani currency), his reply is Kashmir. When we question him on employment, his answer is Kashmir. When we ask him where did you build five million houses? He says look at what Modi did. We understand that India gave him a pretext to ward off any discussion on his government’s performance. He talks about Kashmir wherever he goes. I do not see if he has talked about Citizenship Bill. And I am also very surprised whether he also understands the Citizenship Bill. The Bill came just four days ago. And I’m glad they are picking it up.

They are not only raising the Citizenship Bill but there is a discussion in the world about the way minorities are being tortured in Pakistan. At the time of independence, there were 22 per cent minorities in Pakistan which are now reduced to 1.2 per cent only. Don’t you think that Imran Khan should look inward and that he should think about himself before debating the Citizenship Bill?

Imran Khan is not the only one who is paying more attention to the affairs of other countries. Along with India & Pakistan, now even in UK, it has become customary that they are not accountable for what is happening in their respective countries. I can also say that Imran Khan, as he is, is my prime minister, and what I have to do with you. Indian public has interest in Imran and he also has interest in Indian public because both have a shared history. I think there is a nexus going on under the regimes of the two countries that the people of Pakistan cannot ask questions from the Pakistani government and the people of India from their government. Imran talks about Modi-RSS in his Assembly sessions and does not raise the issues of his country. Politicians and people of both India and Pakistan will have to show a lot of seriousness and quit hate politics.

Pakistan is going through an economic recession right now. International agency has threatened if Pakistan does not stop terrorism, it will stop financial aid. Do you hold Imran Khan responsible for this?

Imran Khan is responsible for this directly as well as indirectly. When so many incidents happened in Pakistan, no one did anything and Imran also did nothing. December 16 has come again, when the children were mass murdered in the past. Nonetheless, Imran has done nothing for them so far. While Imran used to make big claims but did nothing. Imran did everything for his politics that he should not have done. He should not have backed the extremists, but he did. Hindu girls were forcibly converted in Sindh and nothing was done to prevent that, while he should have done it.

A lot of wear and tear on social media in Pakistan and India is viral that Imran Khan’s wife knows black magic.It is said that his wife Bushra Begum has kept two jinns and through them she will change the situation in Pakistan. After all, for how long has Imran been under the spell of this black magic?

The first thing that people need to understand is that such persons  indulging in such antics by wearing the cloak of Islam do disservice to Islam because there is no scope of black magic in Islam. It is forbidden. It is not allowed. This is of some strange type that is done and I have seen it. When I was at his house, I saw black magic previews and practices. Who used to get it done, who would get it done, but I saw a lot there? Sometimes making black lentils, sometimes bringing amulet; whereas there is no scope for such things in Islam. Calling it his inclination towards this would be a very small thing. I have seen his dependence on it, which I thought was very bad. If there is anything now, I cannot tell what is happening right now because now I am not in that house. Why should I lie? But if it is so and people are saying so then it is very bad. And if it is not so, then Imran was and is a role model. This kind of useless talk about him, which has no space in Islam and even in modern life, is a kind of illiterateness. If it becomes such a role model, then where will he take the country? He has taught people, young men to be abusive. He taught intolerance and pushed the militancy forward. In his speech at the UN General Assembly, he said that anyone could go on the border and throw a bomb which was applauded by some people, nevertheless, I felt very bad. It is unbecoming of an educated person.

The role model you are talking about, the youth of Pakistan had great faith in Imran that a new leader is coming, will build a new Pakistan. But all their dreams have dashed to the ground. The youth of Pakistan is now disappointed and for them the image of Pakistan’s prime minister has undergone a change. Processions are being taken out against the worthless prime minister. See Bilawal’s statement wherein he said that Muzaffarabad is also about to go.

It is a simple matter. Imran has been a cricketer. He has been known for his performance as a bowler and none would call him a bad bowler. That was his perforrmance. But no one can keep him captain because of his face and that performance is called for. The fault lies with the selector who put in the economy team. It is not necessary that anyone who has a good understanding of cricket also has a good understanding of the economy. Now that a mistake has been made, they are not ready to accept it because Imran has been brought in and it is not his cup of tea. Everyone knew his ability. They could not win by vote so they brought him in. One year has passed and now everyone has become familiar with his capabilities. This poor fellow cannot even read a file. This is not his job. To what extent is it appropriate to place such a non-serious person at the helm in a country where there is nuclear power and weapons.Hearing such things from such a person, one gets into dilemma whether to cry or laugh. The fault lies with the selectors. I am not blaming Imran at all.

You have mentioned a lot of personal things in your book. You have written a lot about Imran Khan, have also written about Black Money. How close is this to the reality because you have written at one place that Imran Khan was not even capable of bringing even vegetables?

I wrote a book about my life and his life. Copies of this books are available everywhere in the world. If anyone thinks that there is any lie in it, then come and tell me.What I wrote is true more than 100 per cent. Nevertheless, I did not write about some issues. I have been accused being personal about what I have written. Everything that is written in the book is related to the country.

How did you and Imran Khan become friends in the beginning? Who was after whom? How did you guys get married?

Friendship happened only during marriage. I took an interview with him on May 15. About a month after that, he sent me a message and he proposed me.

Was this an instant engagement and instant marriage affair?

No, this was not ‘instant engagement, instant marriage’ affair, rather it took six months to happen. At that time, I felt that this person even didn’t know me and we were not even acquainted with each other. I didn’t see him even in any social event. I didn’t have any social circle whereas his social circle was wider. Then I said that I didn’t know him. Then it was said that it is not so. You are denying the person whom all the women want. They took two/three months and in August I gave my consent. Thereafter, some of his antics; wherein he had a strange thing to say in the night and turn around in the day. Nikah’s date was fixed and suddenly he said something crazy, so I did not even have such an interest, then I backed away. Thereafter he took two/three months and then in October he suddenly said that it was necessary to go in for Nikah. I felt that he had a dependency on a certain date that he should marry on that date. Nikah was also performed on the same date and divorce also happened on the same date.

Was the time between Nikah and divorce very painful?

It was not like this for me. It cannot be called painful. My first marriage was so terrible that in this case it was very good. He seemed a very good person as a husband. But it was all fake. It was a drama. I had something else in front of me and something else behind my back. But I never had a fight in what was with me. But it was a hoax. It was trickery and tricks were in his nature. I used to think that my husband is very happy with me, but when I started finding out, I found something else.How can a person who lies in personal life be okay with the country? People repeatedly say that it is all about personal life. But their nature is such that they can sacrifice anyone for the sake of the chair (power).

Where do you see India-Pakistan relations going in the future? Which way should this relationship go?

India also has extreme right tilt at the moment which is very disturbing because we see India as a secular and democratic country. We have been seeing and also want to continue to see democracy in India and this is the country’s identity. India has many colors, many breeds, groups of all. There are people of diverse religions.The colors of Holi are the colors of India. There has also been a change in India and extreme right is being imposed in Pakistan and Imran is reinforcing this label. If the same situation prevails, then a more difficult time may come for both the countries, which will directly affect the economies of both the countries.

This change is being seen all over the world. In England too, the Conservative Party has won with a thumping majority. Aren’t you too surprised about it?

I am not surprised because we were aware that a design of this type was coming. It is a US policy. Trump embraces Modi and also promotes Imran. But we should focus on our country. We should first fix the relations between the two countries. If the US wants us to fight, then we need to be sensible. The Britishers had already made us fight each other and there is an attempt repeat the past in future.

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