Thursday, May 23, 2019
 News Details
Problems for Pak first lady’s ex-husband

Farooq Ganderbali

Now that his third wife Bushra’s prediction has proved right and he has become Pakistan’s prime minister, Imran Khan would need to carefully intervene to prevent witch-hunting of Bushra’s ex-husband, Khawar Farid Maneka.
This is because the harassment of one of the young daughters born of Bushra and Farid was harassed by officials on August 5, when Imran was still struggling with numbers of lawmakers to form the new government.
A family scandal that exposes Khan to the charge of witch-hunting by his government could cause Khan embarrassment that is avoidable and make news at home and abroad.
Compared to Khan’s clout, Farid, Bushra’s ex-husband, is a commoner albeit with a family that had a political past. He is a senior customs official as of now who is accused of corruption and has been subjected to many job transfers.
Farid had to go to the court after a roadside altercation with the Punjab Police officials.
Ostensibly on a tip from Khan or someone close to him, Chief justice of Pakistan, Mian Saqib Nasir, who is widely perceived as being part of the ‘establishment’ that engineered Khan’s election victory, has ordered an inquiry into the allegation of harassment.
Nasir has also directed probe against the officials accused of harassing the young lady by Punjab police personnel and interference in the matter of transfer of Pakpattan District Police Officer (DPO) Rizwan Gondal by political personalities.
Interestingly, Gondal has alleged that he acted at the behest of the new Punjab Chief Minister, who is close to Imran Khan and a leader of the PTI.
An indignant chief justice ordered the probe at the head of a three-judge bench of the Supreme Court and also observed that the “court is sorry over the mistreatment suffered by Maneka's daughter at the hands of police,” Pakistani media reports have said.
Imran married Khawar Farid’s wife earlier this year and the Maneka connections are not going to easily leave Pakistan’s “first couple.”
This is also because of Reham Khan, Imran’s second wife who has made several allegations against Khan and has alluded to Bushra being one of the causes of her broken marriage.
There are widespread reports in Pakistani media that Bushra had advised Khan to divorce Reham if he wanted to end his troubles and become the prime minister.
Bushra's prophesy has come true and even before that, she, having divorced Farid and left behind their three daughters and two sons, Bushra is married to Khan.
Interestingly, Bushra is seen in public with her face totally covered. This has led to speculation. But a report in Daily Times of January 10 this year shows her along with Farid and Imran.
This was when Imran’s divorce from Reham had come through and he was still denying speculation that he had married Bushra – which he did later.
This newspaper report quotes from a column in Urdu by analyst and anchorperson Javed Chaudhry. It is not clear if Chaudhry was briefed by someone close to Imran to paint Farid Maneka in a bad light.
It says that Khawar Farid Maneka is a senior official of Customs department, belonging to Pakpattan and is a spiritual devotee of the 13th century mystic Baba Farid Ganj Shakkar.
Khawar’s father Ghulam Muhammad Maneka was a politician and also served as a federal minister under Benazir Bhutto. Ghulam Muhammad Maneka passed away in 2011.
Khawar’s brother Ahmad Raza Maneka had also contested an election in 2013 on PTI ticket from NA-165 but lost to PML-N’s Syed Athar Hussain Shah Gillani.
Khawar Maneka studied at Aitchison College and has also studied in the United States, where he was considered one of the rich students from Pakistan. After returning to Pakistan, he attempted CSS exam and joined Customs department. Currently, he is an officer in Grade-21.He was married to Burshra Riaz of the Wattoo clan. Bushra is originally from Dipalpur and the couple had three daughters and two sons. Two of the daughters are already married and one of them is the daughter-in-law of Punjab’s provincial minister Atta Muhammad Maneka. Ibrahim Maneka and Musa Maneka have also studied abroad.
However, the two things most interesting about Khawar Maneka are that, one, his reputation in Customs department wasn’t good, and, secondly, he has been into Sufism and mysticism from quite a young age. He remained posted in Lahore, Islamabad, Sialkot, Multan and Karachi but couldn’t stay at any of the posts for a long period since wherever he went, he was accused by his subordinates of being corrupt and ‘taking more than his due share’ from the gifts and ‘speed money’.
“He was also infamous for demanding gifts from people. The best post he enjoyed in his career was as Director General (DG) of Transit Trade but he was removed from this position as well due to his poor repute. He couldn’t even be promoted in the 2015 promotion board either.”
Khawar Farid is accused of having been favoured by the previous PML-N government as per this report.
“However, when the current Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi promoted all the officers on Supreme Court’s order, Khawar Maneka also got the promotion.
“Sufism is the other aspect of his personality. He has been very spiritual over the years. Bushra Maneka was also a modern woman in her youth but she also gradually turned to Sufism, and got famous as ‘Pinky Peerni’. The husband and wife would travel from Lahore to Pakpattan by foot every year on the 5th of Muharram.
How Imran Khan became a family friend?
Imran Khan was first introduced to this family by Aun Chaudhry, who is very close to Imran. Reham has mentioned him in her book as the man who worked to advise Khan to dissolve his marriage with her.
Imran got “extremely impressed by ‘Pinki’ in this brief meeting and started visiting the family quite often. Bushra often told Imran Khan verses to recite and also gave him a ring to wear for good fortune.
“After their introduction to Imran Khan, the couple gradually started developing differences, which Khawar believes to have been Godsend. There were reports of Imran Khan’s marriage with Bushra’s sister Maryam as well but the rumours were denied from both sides.
“As Bushra and Khawar developed more and more differences, Bushra finally got divorced from Khawar Maneka. There are contradictory reports on how this divorce actually came by but since Khawar has already denied having any differences with Bushra and stated that the reasons of the divorce were spiritual, it gives credence to the report that Bushra one day told Khawar that she had had a dream in which Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) appeared before her and told her to get married to Imran Khan, which would not only remove all the hurdles in Imran Khan’s way to become PM but will also eventually usher in a golden era for Pakistan.
Now, Pakistan can look forward to the “golden era” ushered in by Imran and his‘parda-nasheen’ (veiled) Pinky Peerni.

(The author is a senior journalist and columnist)

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