KARACHI: Two divorces later, Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf chairman Imran Khan is all the wiser about marriage — which he maintains is a decidedly good thing.
Imran Khan would prefer a married life over the bachelor lifestyle, Dawn.com reported, quoting the PTI leader as having told The Hindustan Times in an interview.
“I led a very envied bachelor’s life. Many people would have loved to have the kind of life I’ve led, but if you get marriage right, it is a very civilised way of life,” says Mr Khan.
“Every young Pakistani wanted to be me. And yet, given the choice between someone to live happily with and the bachelor life, I would always choose married life. Because bachelor life is: all that glitters is not gold. It is very shallow and empty. It is a superficial existence. You cause a lot of pain. As a bachelor there were a lot of heartaches, and I regret that.
‘My greatest happiness was watching my children grow up’
“My greatest happiness was watching my children grow up. From the time they were born [his sons are now 17 and 19] till a year or so before my divorce was the happiest time of my life,” he adds.
So what went wrong?
If that’s his view of marriage, what caused his split with his ex-wives, Jemima Khan (m. 1995-2004) and Reham Khan (m. 2015-2015)?
About his divorce from Jemima, Mr Khan says: “My marriage would have worked too, but it was just not possible for her [Jemima] to live here in Pakistan. She was young and the cultural life in Pakistan was difficult. The combination of living in a different culture and that too with someone who had just started a career in politics wasn’t easy.”
He wistfully adds: “Maybe now I would have dealt with it differently because now my political party is established, but... our relationship reached a dead end. She couldn’t live here and I couldn’t leave Pakistan.”
Imran Khan, though, appears to have made his peace with their split and is grateful that he still has a civil relationship with her.
“My marriages failed, and that’s part of life. You try your best and accept it as the will of God. And I’m very lucky that [Jemima and I] have a great relationship. Even today — 11 years after my divorce — I go and stay with my mother-in-law. The boys come and see me there. She still hasn’t taken my pictures down,” he says.
About his second marriage to Reham, the PTI chief didn’t say much except that it did not get easier.
“The second time was much more difficult.”
With children in the picture, Mr Khan had to keep them in mind before making any decisions. “I thought I would try again, but it just didn’t work out because when you have grown children and she has grown children, it’s very difficult. There’s your family, her family. It was too complicated.”
But despite all the difficulties, Imran Khan is willing to give marriage another try. “I am more of a staunch believer of marriage now [after two divorces] than I ever was.”
But he’s not making the leap anytime soon.
Insisting that there is “not even remotely” a match in the offing, he says optimistically: “Marrying at 60 is not like marrying at 30. The great thing about life is that it’s unpredictable; you never know what’s going to happen tomorrow.”
Published in Dawn, July 12th, 2016