In this handout photograph released by the Pakistan-Tehreek-Insaf party on January 8, 2015, Pakistani opposition leader Imran Khan and his then-new wife Reham Khan pose during prayers in their wedding ceremony at his house in Islamabad. Photo: AFP / PTI

The much-awaited book by Reham Khan is finally out and it has already become one of Amazon’s top sellers. The reason for its good sales figures is Imran Khan, as many of the pages in the book talk about his drug use and difficult marital relations.

The book became controversial before its launch as Imran Khan’s political party, Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaaf, accused his ex-wife Reham Khan of being used by the rival Pakistan Muslim League (Nawaz) in a bid to undermine the former cricket player’s political popularity.

Many PTI followers and supporters still believe that this book contains no substantial truth and that Reham Khan is trying to depict her ex-husband as a drug addict driven by lust for sex and power. For them, it is an effort to steal the conservative and religious vote bank from Imran Khan. However, a read of the book shows that this is not the case.

Reham Khan’s eponymously titled book starts with her early life and her first marriage. She eloquently explains the torment, both emotional and physical, inflicted on her by her first husband. It is actually brave of her to talk about what many women go through, and simply accept the violence inflicted by their husbands and in-laws just to survive the marriage somehow.

The book actually provides good revelations about how Reham thinks of the world and gives a glimpse of how many mountains you have to move as a woman in Pakistani society to live a life of your own choice.

The controversial part of the book starts when Imran Khan is being discussed. His entry into Reham’s life is quite dramatic. A man dejected with the failure to topple the government through agitation finds refuge in a women who is also broken from inside but somehow manages not to show it to the world. The marriage of Reham and Imran Khan was not announced publicly, as he was pretending to be making a new Pakistan through agitation in those days.

Regarding Imran Khan’s playboy lifestyle, there are no doubts, as he is famous for flirting with the women. From Indian actress Zeenat Aman to Sita White, we have seen and read it all.

Reham also discusses Imran’s daughter, Tyrian White, and of course we all know that she is Imran’s daughter living with his ex-wife Jemima. Certainly, what Imran does is a personal matter, and if he sniffs cocaine or has a playboy lifestyle it is none of anybody’s business in a normal routine. But when you use religion as a tool, and you claim that you are a saint and all your opponents are ethically and morally corrupt, then it does not remain a personal matter.

Since the book highlights the weak points of the blue-eyed boy of the establishment and the darling of the media, it has not won the attention of the media that it deserves in Pakistan. The same sort of book written by Tehmina Durrani, the ex-wife of Ghulam Mustafa Khar, My Feudal Lord, was given extensive coverage at the time of its release a few decades ago because that book suited the larger interests of the power chessboard players.

Coming back to Reham’s book, it is not all about Imran Khan; it is about a woman who has the courage to pen the events of her life without any hesitation and without fearing the consequences. She may be disliked by the blind followers of PTI, but for regular readers, this book has a lot to offer. Of course, it is not a classic like George Orwell’s Animal Farm or Fyodor Dostoevsky’s Crime and Punishment, but once you start reading it you cannot resist the urge to finish it as soon as possible.

Reham should be given credit for expressing the cruelest moments and events of her life in such a delicate manner that one almost shares the intense feelings of the characters of the story. After all, we all have dark sides that we hide from the world.

From a critical point of view, Reham could have avoided discussing Imran Khan’s lust for pleasure activities, but then it is up to the writer what she wants to express.

The book is highly recommended to critical thinkers and especially those women who have to suffer the violence of men in a male-dominated society.

PTI lovers, however, are advised not to read the book, as it will disappoint them badly. And for male chauvinists, it is simply not digestible.

All in all, 4 out of 5 for what Reham Khan has produced.

Imad Zafar

Imad Zafar is a journalist and columnist/commentator for newspapers. He is associated with TV channels, radio, newspapers, news agencies, and political, policy and media related think-tanks.

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