I’ve paid my dues
Time after time.
I’ve done my sentence
But committed no crime
We are the champions – Queen.
These famous lines from a song by Freddie Mercury comes to mind as the man who, once terrorised batsmen with his swinging yorkers and bouncers, is today facing a barrage of a different kind.
Imran Khan, the playboy cricketer-turned-politician, and leader of Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI), is seeking ‘insaf’ from Twitterati, which has gone wild over reports about his third marriage with a faith healer.
One can say that to some extent Imran Khan himself is to be blamed for the immense backlash he has been receiving for the past few days. When rumours about his third marriage with Bushra Maneka, who Imran calls ‘Bushra Begum’ surfaced it was his party which rejected the news as ridiculous.
PTI’s chief whip Shireen Mazari termed the report “ridiculous” and “pathetic”, saying that Khan’s “detractors” were making up stories about his marriage now that they could not accuse him of corruption after the Supreme Court gave the party leader a clean chit in the disqualification case last year.
However, Imran and his party went on defensive when the Pakistani newspaper The News in an article claimed that Imran married a woman, whom he regarded as his spiritual leader, in a secret ceremony on January 1. Mufti Saeed, who had officiated Imran’s second marriage with TV anchor Reham Khan in 2015, reportedly performed the nikah, according to The News.
After that, all hell broke loose on Twitter as innuendo-filled tweets went viral.
The vicious and gutter campaign forced Imran to take to Twitter to clarify his stand.
Blaming his detractors former Pakistan prime minister Nawaz Sharif and the owner-editor of The News and the founder of Geo Television Network Mir Shakil-ur-Rahman, Imran asked whether he had “sold” state secrets to India or “laundered” the country’s wealth to deserve a bad press.
In a series of tweets, the 65-year-old former cricket captain said that he was only concerned about “his children and the very conservative family of Bushra begum.”
He alleged that the “vicious, gutter media campaign” was being led by NS [Nawaz Sharif] and MSR [Mir Shakil-ur-Rahman], adding that it did not bother him.
In another tweet, he told “NS & MSR” that their vicious campaign has only strengthened his resolve to fight them.
Attacking Sharif, Imran said: “I have known the Sharifs for 40 years and I know all their sordid personal lives, but I would never stoop to the level of exposing these sordid details.”
“For 3 days I have been wondering have I looted a bank; or money laundered bns in nation’s wealth; or ordered a model-town-like killing spree; or revealed state secrets to India? I have done none of these but discovered I have committed a bigger crime: wanting to get married,” he said.