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ISLAMABAD/SAHIWAL: The Pa­kis­tan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) on Sunday rejected media reports about the third marriage of party chairman Imran Khan.

However, a PTI spokesman clarified that Mr Khan had proposed marriage to a woman, who is a fortune teller or spiritual healer living in Pakpattan, and that she had sought time to consult her family on the matter.

She is married with five children and her husband, a customs officer in Islamabad, told a TV channel on Sunday that he had divorced her a few months ago.

The PTI chairman often visited the lady for spiritual guidance and protection from an ‘evil eye’.

Mr Khan was in Chakwal on Saturday in connection with his party’s public meeting there and when a reporter asked him about the marriage reports, he neither confirmed nor denied them.

The PTI spokesman said in a statement: “It is indeed sad to see this extremely private and sensitive matter be made the subject of erroneous story leading to all manner of public conjecture.”

He said if and when the proposal was accepted, Imran Khan would announce it. “Till then we request the media to give the two families, especially the children, their privacy.”

PTI leader Fawad Chaudhry confirmed that Mr Khan frequently visited Pakpattan to meet the lady for ‘spiritual guidance’.

Imran Khan started visiting the lady in 2015, ahead of the Lodhran by-election, for spiritual guidance. Each time his host would be the woman’s husband, Khawar Farid Maneka. Occasionally, Imran Khan would also visit the Baba Farid shrine.

According to a PTI’s Pakpattan district leader, the lady had predicted Jahangir Tareen’s victory in the Lodhran by-poll.

He said the spiritual healer gave Mr Khan a ring that the PTI leader would put in his little finger. It was she who advised Mr Khan to stay at high altitude place (Nathia Gali) when the Panama Papers case was being heard by the Supreme Court.

She also advised him to go for a third marriage to become prime minister.

The woman, around 50 years of age, belongs to the Wattoo clan of Basirpur. She married Mr Khawar in 1987. She has three daughters and two sons. Two of her daughters are married, while the sons are studying abroad.

In a video clip aired by some TV channels on Sunday night, Mr Khawar said he had divorced her three months ago for ‘spiritual reasons’.

“The separation has nothing to do with the PTI leader,” he said and praised his former wife.

Published in Dawn, January 8th, 2018