Imran Khan and Reham KhanReham

LONDON: Britain’s widely circulated Daily Mail has said that a smear campaign against Imran Khan’s bride Reham Khan is underway and close relatives as well as political opponents from the couple’s families could be behind it to damage their union.

The Daily Mail on Saturday published a feature spread on three pages looking at the life of Reham Khan, her rise to international fame and how she has confidently pursued her goals with determination and clarity – going on to achieve them. The paper said that Reham is under attack from political opponents of Imran Khan who have found it easy to target the former cricket captain by picking on her.

The paper said: “Allegations have arisen online and in some sections of that country’s media — not to mention among some of the couple’s more disapproving relatives — aimed at destroying her reputation.”

Daily Mail said that Reham comes from a middle class family in Abbottabad who got married to her cousin Dr Ijaz Rehman at 18 and then moved to England. The couple has three children: Sahir, 21, Ridha, 17, and Inaya, now 11. The paper said that Reham ditched sociology course at the age of 33 and retrained as a journalist, gaining employment in BBC South, where she worked for four years.

The paper said that allegations have been made against Reham on media on various counts but the fact is that she has worked hard to make her way up in the tough field of journalism, pursuing various roles at different media outlets. The paper said that “in Britain, of course, Reham’s is a remarkable story of determination and success against the odds” but in Pakistan it’s a different matter where different and rather hypocritical standards are applied.

The paper said that after her marriage with Imran Khan, she has been subjected to “a quite extraordinarily brutal smear campaign.”

A senior Pakistani journalist told the paper that Reham has been treated unfairly by some sections of Pakistani society who have picked on her past unnecessarily. Daily Mail made reference to anonymous social pages making wild allegations against her but also posting pictures and information which could have come from only within the family.

The newspaper said that the “blatantly politically motivated” campaign against Reham is “perhaps understandable” as Imran Khan has recently been “an outspoken critic of the ruling Pakistani regime, which views him as a serious threat and has become increasingly hostile towards him and his party.”

The paper claimed that some in PTI were opposed to the timing of Imran Khan’s wedding, as it came just three weeks after the Peshawar school massacre in December in which 145 people including 132 children were slaughtered by Taliban militants, but the couple pressed on with their marriage, showing resolve and commitment toward each other.

Friends of Ijaz Rehman told the paper that he was a highly respected National Health Service psychiatrist and has been known as a family man but a private person, shunning media publicity.

Since Reham tied the knot with Imran Khan, several British papers have camped outside Dr Ijaz Rehman’s house, asking him for interview and offering money but Dr Ijaz has refused to make comments and has demanded an apology about the domestic violence allegations. He has refused to entertain requests for tell-tall interviews. Daily Mail said it had contacted Reham, Imran and Dr Ijaz for comments but none of them volunteered to speak or reply to questions. Source