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Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 21 June 2018

Imran Khan waits to learn if he will marry for the third time

Third wife is a divorced faith healer with Dubai connections

Imran Khan’s party, Pakistani opposition leader and head of the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI), has issued a statement clarifying the situation around his marital status. Aamir Qureshi / AFP Photo
Imran Khan’s party, Pakistani opposition leader and head of the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI), has issued a statement clarifying the situation around his marital status. Aamir Qureshi / AFP Photo

His first wife was the daughter of a British aristocrat and a multimillionaire financier.

The second Mrs Imran Khan was a journalist and film ­producer.

The third wife of one of Pakistan’s most famous sons is, possibly, a faith healer with connections to a politically powerful tribe.

The “possibly” is important. With rumours spreading that the cricketer-turned-politician had married Bushra “Pinki” Maneka, a pir, or spiritual guide, Mr Khan’s party yesterday issued a statement clarifying the situation.

Ms Maneka, the PTI said, was still considering an offer of marriage from Mr Khan and had “asked for time to make a final decision after consulting her family, including her children”. Furthermore, the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf said, it was “indeed sad to see this extremely private and sensitive matter be made the subject of [an] erroneous story leading to all manner of public conjecture”, while describing the potentially third Mrs Khan as “a very private lady”.

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This is not the first time Mr Khan has been linked to the Maneka family, an influential clan whose power base is Sahiwal in southern Punjab.

In July 2016, Mr Khan was linked in gossip columns to Maryam Riaz Wattoo, the ­sister of Ms Maneka. Ms Wattoo, who lives in Dubai, at first ­ignored the rumours and then reacted indignantly, saying the story of their wedding was false and disturbing to her family.

Last August, Dawn, Pakistan’s biggest English-language newspaper, reported that Mr Khan had been a regular visitor to Sahiwal, arriving by night and staying with the family of the sisters.

It described Ms Maneka then as being in her 40s and “the wife of Khawar Farid Maneka, a senior Customs official in Islamabad”.

Her relationship with Mr Khan was one of a “spiritual bond”, with his visits taking place “whenever he finds himself in a difficult situation”.

Mr Khan’s only recorded comment on his marital status came last year when he was reported joking: “I am in a hurry to complete my marriages hat-trick.”