Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf chief Imran Khan married Bushra Manika in a simple ceremony in Lahore on Sunday, the party’s spokesperson confirmed to media. The party also issued pictures of nikah in which close relatives of Bushra Bibi are seen.
PTI spokesperson Fawad Chaudhary said that the ceremony was held at Manika’s residence.
Party leader Inamul Haq says that only close relatives participated in the ceremony and Mufti Saeed performed the nikah in the presence of witnesses.
The sisters of Imran did not participate in Nikah ceremony, reports a private news channel. The ceremony was held a low-profile one as per the desire of Imran Khan, he added. Khan’s close associates Awn Chaudhary and Zulfi Bukhari appeared as witnesses.
Bushra Maneka is in her 40s, and belongs to the Wattoo clan, of which the Manekas are a sub-clan. Earlier, she was married to Khawar Farid Maneka, a senior customs official in Islamabad but parted ways in recent times. The PTI chief has been married twice before. His first marriage was with Jemima Goldsmith, daughter of a British billionaire in 1995. The couple divorced in 2004. Khan’s second marriage to Reham Khan dissolved 10 months after a public ceremony had taken place in January, 2015.
On January 3 earlier this year, media was abuzz with reports of the PTI chief having contracted a third Nikah with the lady he used to visit for spiritual guidance. After much drama, Imran had broken his silence about his third marriage last month, clarifying that he had only sent a wedding proposal to Bushra and was awaiting her response. According to a statement issued by the spokesperson for the PTI chief, Khan had sent a marriage proposal and the lady had sought time to consult her family, especially her children, before making any decision.
The statement insisted that the PTI chief would announce it publicly if Maneka accepted the marriage proposal. Last month, a local newspaper had claimed that Khan had already married for the third time and the woman in question was someone he used to visit for spiritual guidance. The report also claimed that the wedding was held in Lahore on January 1 and was attended by Khan’s close aides.
The next Sunday morning, PTI’s media department released a statement, attributing to the PTI chairman, criticising the newspaper report. The statement said that this extremely private and sensitive matter was made the subject of an erroneous story leading to all manner of public conjecture. “This has put an unacceptable burden, especially on the children of Maneka and Khan, who have had to learn of such a private and intimate issue from the media,” the statement said.
Stressing the need for restraint, Khan urged the media to “give the two families, especially the children, their privacy”. Last year, a local newspaper had reported that for quite some time, Khan had been quietly visiting a remote town in Sahiwal where he stays “for a few hours at the residence of his hosts, who belong to influential Maneka clan, with whom he is said to have a spiritual bond”. The report suggested that Khan met there with Bushra, known as ‘Pinky’ in the area, for spiritual advice. Khawar Fareed Maneka, Bushra’s ex-husband, also released a video statement on social media last month, in which he deplored the manner in which a specific media outlet reported on the issue.
“Whatever a specific media outlet has been reporting the issue, it is a matter of grave concern for me. It is misleading and baseless and caused distress to my whole family,” said Khawar Maneka, who is a senior government official.
“I categorically deny the claim that some dispute had emerged between me and my ex-wife [that led to our divorce] due to Imran Khan. My former wife is the most-pious wife in the world. Imran Khan gives great value to our spiritual family. I have not seen such a great person (Imran Khan). May God give him success,” Khawar Maneka said in the video statement.