ISLAMABAD (AFP) – Pakistani opposition leader Imran Khan wed a TV journalist in a simple ceremony at his Islamabad home Thursday, ending years of speculation surrounding the former playboy cricketer widely considered his country’s most eligible man.
Imran Khan, who is 62 and the father of two sons from his previous marriage to British socialite Jemima Khan (nee Goldsmith), tied the knot with Reham Khan, the 41-year-old host of a Pakistani political talk show in an Islamic ceremony before a handful of witnesses, a spokeswoman said.
“There are no wedding or valima receptions. Tomorrow food will be distributed amongst poor children,” Khan’s party spokeswoman Shireen Mazari said, referring to additional marriage events typical of traditional, elaborate Pakistani weddings.
Khan wore a cream-coloured Sherwani, the national dress of Pakistan, while Reham wore an off-white Peshwaz dress with red brocade border.
Khan’s Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaaf (PTI) party won the third largest number of seats in the 2013 elections and governs the northwest Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province.
He had first announced his intention to wed shortly after he began a movement to topple the government last August, which he called off last month in the aftermath of a Taliban attack on a school that killed 150 people.
Reham, 41, was previously a BBC weather host and according to media reports she is also a divorced mother of three.
Khan’s followers, who are mainly derived from the country’s educated, urban middle class, took to Twitter to congratulate their leader with the #BestOfLuckIK trending.
Not everyone was happy, however, with some users questioning Reham Khan’s fitness for Imran given her status as a divorcee in this conservative Islamic society and comparing her to a “used tissue”.
Others sent messages of support to Jemima, who tweeted back: “Thank you so much to all those Pakistanis who have sent me such lovely messages over the past few days. I am really touched…” adding she would “always feel like an honorary Pakistani, no matter what”.