Relationship Politics

The struggle of winning over the in-laws…and a whole nation

Posted: 08.01.15

Making a relationship work and endeavouring to gain the seal of approval from those around you, can be a stressful and daunting experience. Imagine that feeling multiplied by tens of thousands - a whole nation even! Usually, a nice cup of tea, a decent attempt at samosas, donning a respectful sari or shalwar kameez, with some polite sweet talking usually wins some hearts. But it is not always so easy. Pakistan's opposition leader Imran Khan has secretly married Dawn News political talk show host and former BBC weather presenter Reham Khan - an act that has received a reaction of outrage and uproar from Pakistani spectators. The question is why? Everyone is entitled to get married to whom they want and whenever they want right? Shouldn't people be relieved to know that the playboy turned politician has finally settled down since his divorce in 2004? As Imran Khan has defiantly stated: 'Getting married is not a crime'. Maybe not a crime, but it is certainly not biding well with his countrymen.

Perhaps fuelling the fire is the fact that the 62-year-old married the British Pakistani journalist in secret, without even telling his own family, let alone announcing it to the rest of the world. This has even upset his own sister Aleema who upon discovering she has a new sister-in-law, was quoted as saying: 'We haven't met her and I don't know that we want to meet her'. This is the issue poor Reham is inundated with - no one has even given her a chance for her true character and personality to shine. Perhaps the negativity is spawned from followers of his opposition party - whatever the reason, the innocent new bride is bearing the brunt. It is no wonder that Imran wanted to shield his darling wife from such unjustified speculation and scandal.

The last few days have witnessed hostility turning into damning accusations, including photos circulating social media allegedly showing the blushing bride posing in sex shop and images featuring the mother-of-three, clad in dresses and skirts exposing her legs from her BBC days have also been received with severe criticism. Some ridiculously harsh rumours have been spreading like wildfire, which have disturbed the 41-year-old greatly, and understandably so.

Even the cricketing legend's ex-wife Jemima Goldsmith congratulated the newly weds as they embark upon their new life together. Although the hashtag BestOfLuckIK has gained over 11,000 retweets in just 24 hours, instead of extending their best wishes to the couple, the people of Pakistan have regressed and decided to display an outpouring of emotion and love for Jemima, with tweets such as: You will remain the First Lady Ma'am. No-one like Reham can replace you!!'

The last week or so has been a nightmare for Mrs Khan - we hope Pakistanis worldwide overturn this negative image they are creating not only of Reham, but also of themselves, by showing their support for an ordinarily happy union. Surely, they should form an opinion once they have given her the chance to reveal her actual personality, and not by judging her based on her attire, friends and where her photos are clicked. On that note, let's begin by praising the pictures showing the new Mr & Mrs Khan - there is no denying what a splendidly handsome couple they make.

Fariha Sabir 

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