British-Pakistani journalist Reham Khan’s autobiography, Reham Khan, is out on Amazon Kindle. Controversial claims made in the book about her former husband, Pakistani politician Imran Khan, have already caused a storm ahead of the general elections in Pakistan.
Among the India-related nuggets in the book, there is a jaw-dropping claim that Imran Khan has an Indian child or two.
One day, soon after their marriage in 2015, they were discussing Tyrian White, Imran’s daughter from American heiress Sita White. Tyrian was later adopted by Imran’s first wife, British heiress Jemima Khan.
During the conversation about Tyrian, Reham claims Imran said, “You know she isn’t the only one I have… There are 5 in total, that I know of”.
“What? You have five illegitimate children! How do you know?” Reham asked.
“Well, the mothers told me,” Imran replied.
“All [Sita] White’s?”
“No, some are Indians. The eldest is 34 now.”
“How Imran? Why did the mother not come out with it?”
“Because she was over the moon! She had been married for ages and couldn’t get pregnant. She was overjoyed, promised to keep it a secret, and begged to keep it. So I said OK.”
“And the rest? Why did they never speak?” Reham fired at him.
“Well, because they were all married and they didn’t want their marriages to be destroyed,” Imran said.
“Does anyone else know?”
“Only Jemima does. I told her.”
Incidentally, Imran Khan has declared only two children in his election affidavit. That he has not declared Tyrian White as his child could amount to lying in the election affidavit and could come in the way of his political ambitions this election. On top of that, Reham Khan’s allegation that he has five more children out of wedlock, including some in India, may not help Imran’s case.
Learn from Narendra Modi, Reham told Imran
Reham Khan writes about her ex-husband’s great desire to be the prime minister. “He would often talk about his future as Prime Minister. During the dharna, whenever he had renewed hope, he would paint a scene of him standing up there, giving the victory speech. “Baby, you will be down there smiling up at me, with your beautiful face lit up like a bulb”.
But Reham was sceptical of his chances. She felt he needed to prove himself and climb the ladder step by step.
She writes, “I knew it wasn’t happening. It was all over as we had predicted, but I didn’t have the heart to ever say that after we got married. I assured him that I would have a green silk suit ready… I would gently and repeatedly give the example of Modi, the Indian Prime Minister, who was Chief Minister of Gujarat for a decade, and then elected to the top job because his seemingly strong governance record, despite all the other negative baggage.”
Reham felt Imran should have focused on issues of governance in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa where his party is in power, but instead he mostly spent time in Islamabad, wanting to become prime minister through protests and agitations, without waiting for the next election.
Reham writes, “When I would plead with him to attend to an issue by visiting the location, he would literally wail, “Do you have any idea how long I have been doing this for? I am so fed up of this crap. It’s been 20 fucking years! I can’t do this anymore!” It was clear that Imran felt it was high time he was ‘given the prize’. I would reason with him by saying, “But Imran, Nelson Mandela spent 27 years in a cell with no end in sight. Narendra Modi was a Chief Minister for 10 years before he became PM. He was voted despite his radical views because of a good governance track record. Prove yourself in KP then look to the centre.”
A Bollywood film on Imran Khan?
There was a time when Reham Khan claims she tried to have a film made on Imran Khan’s life.
She writes that she invited over “a couple of Indian producers who had shown an interest in making a film on Imran”.
“I wanted to meet one filmmaker since he’d built a reputation for portraying parent-child relationships very well in his stories. I received them and gave them an idea of the aspects of Imran’s life we would like to see on screen,” Reham writes.
She didn’t attend the meeting with Imran. She does not reveal the names of the producers and we don’t know what happened to the idea.
When Imran didn’t let Reham go to Delhi
Reham was invited to speak at the India Today conclave in Delhi but Imran became nervous about the pre-event publicity she was being given in Delhi.
Imran conveyed his objection to Reham through his secretary, Awn Chaudry.
Reham writes, “A couple of days later, Awn called me and conveyed Imran’s message that I should not fly out to India. I had been invited to attend a conference for female journalists organised by India Today in September. Apparently, Imran Choudhary from Dubai had told Imran that my visit was being advertised in Delhi and getting a lot of attention.”
“Awn asked me not to attend the conference as a sign of goodwill towards my husband. My husband couldn’t even say it to me directly. I was pissed off but decided not to make a fuss, and cancelled it. I sent a curt message to IK saying, “India trip cancelled as per your instruction.”
Imran didn’t let Reham talk about India
Reham Khan claims the American ambassador to Pakistan, Richard Olson, wanted to talk politics with Reham, “particularly India”, but Imran wasn’t happy about that.
Reham writes, “Richard Olson appeared to be a close friend and ally of Imran and perhaps didn’t take very kindly to me after that initial meeting. Imran tried desperately not to let me speak much at all in front of the ambassador.”
“If I were to play devil’s advocate, perhaps I could say that my husband was just trying to protect me from exposing my real views to this very important ally. Maybe he wanted to keep me in his life but my dreams for Pakistan clashed with the agenda he was told to stay on. However, Richard Olson seemed very keen to pick my brains on political issues, particularly India.”
“I could sense my husband’s nervousness from across the dinner table as the ambassador chose to sit next to me. I said what I believed in and what I thought at the time was the ideology of PTI.” (The Print)