Poisoned chalice: Why Pak media reports of Imran Khan's divorce are too close for comfort

Last month, the biggest news that hit Pakistani newspapers and television screens was the divorce of Imran Khan and Reham Khan. The couple that had taken its nuptial vows 10 months ago, announced a separation amid reports that the cricketer-turned-politician did not approve of her meddling in political affairs.

"Yes, I can confirm the divorce. Everything has been settled between the two," PTI spokesperson Naeemul Haq had told reporters. Haq refused to give reasons for the divorce but according to Imran's close associates he was not happy with Reham meddling in political affairs. However, according to this report in The Times of India, Reham tried to poison Imran to grab his political legacy.

Poisoned chalice: Why Pak media reports of Imran Khans divorce are too close for comfort

A file photo of Imran Khan and Reham from their wedding. AFP

According to The Times of India report, a Pakistani journalist Arif Nizami, known to "sniff out scoops", led to a high drama when he told Pakistan's 24 channel, "Intelligence agencies conveyed to Imran through his close friends that Reham's intentions were not right. It was feared she could poison Imran to grab his party's reigns." Interestingly, and The Times of India report points this out, that Nizami was the one who "broke" the story of their marriage in the first place and also "broke" the story that the couple has decided to get a divorce.

Apparently, many had warned Imran when he decided to marry Reham. According to this report in Zee News, Reham was then sent to London on the pretext of attending a conference when Imran emailed her the divorce notice much to her shock. Shahid Masood, another journalist who was close to Imran, had revealed that traces of rodent poison were found in Imran's body when he fell ill and was admitted to a hospital after eating a laddoo.

According to Masood a non-political personality in Pakistan had warned Imran before his marriage. "He contacted Reham as well and told her Imran is a popular leader whom she should stay away from," he said.

We, as a nation which always wants to know, are aware of how appetising these news articles can get. People will be glued to their television screens as long as someone's tragedy is being played over and over again with a new dose of exaggerated information every time. That's right. You heard it here first. The latest example of such blatant love for macabre is the Sheena Bora murder case, where the Indian media went berserk tracking each and every angle they could possibly think of.

In the case of Reham and Imran, newspapers and television channels (in Pakistan) were abuzz with theories surrounding the reasons that resulted in the annulment of their marriage. The fact that Reham was a 'beautiful and a well-spoken' individual was a reason for everyone to hate her instantly. She was labelled as a danger for the politically-charged Imran even before their marriage for her interest in her 'career', we are told. Even before their marriage, for her interest in her "career." And once the couple decided to go their separate ways, they were on the cover of every newspaper. Imran Khan's political career didn't make matters any easier. And the latest from the rumour mill is that Reham actually wanted to take over Imran's politcal legacy and tried to poison him and Imran upon knowing that realised its best to divorce her!

There were other reports which claimed that the couple have decided to divorce because Reham had hit Imran Khan which was later rubbished by Imran himself.

Their divorce brings us to the same crossroads again. Does Pakistan (or for that matter the rest of the world) really need to know this? In a country like Pakistan, which, according to Mahwash Badar in The Express Tribune, "is a cesspoll of humanitarian crises," this personal crisis of a couple is making headlines and being discussed as a topic of national and international importance. And we cannot blame the Pakistani media alone. The Indian media is no better.

We might never know whether Reham, in reality, tried to slow poison the 62-year-old chief of the Pakistani Tehreek-e Insaf, or whether it was a poor judgment call on part of Imran to marry her, but what I do want to know is what Nizami has to 'break' about how much or little, as the case may be, does that actually affect anyone bar the couple itself.

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Updated Date: Nov 06, 2015 20:45:10 IST

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