KARACHI: Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) chairman Imran Khan has said he has only had spiritual relations with Bushra Maneka, to whom he proposed marriage after her divorce.

During an interview with a private television channel on Thursday night, Mr Khan said it was “now up to God” whether his proposal would be accepted or not.

Responding to a question about rumours of his third marriage, the PTI chief said: “It hurts me to talk about the matter because she [Bushra] belongs to a very conservative family and observes the purdah.”

He claimed that even his children and his sisters didn’t know that he had proposed marriage to Bushra Maneka.

“What upsets me is the fact that some sections of the media use information like this to make money. This is not journalism. Investigative journalism is like a jihad... You bring the truth forward like the Kasur incident, not personal matters,” he said.

Mr Khan added: “This woman has observed purdah for most of her life. It hurt her family’s sentiments. Every time I have interacted with her, she has been in purdah... This story has caused her so much embarrassment.’’

The PTI chairman said the media organisations that telecast “news about my marriage” achieved nothing other than hurting people’s sentiments.

He said he had written about his spiritual journey in a book about seven years ago, in which he described how he had come to read a lot about Rumi and Iqbal.

“I met Bushra [Maneka] almost two years ago. I will like to reiterate that every time I met her, with family and alone, she has been in purdah. My interest in her lies in the fact that I have not seen or met anyone with her level of spirituality,” he said, adding that he only sent the proposal for marriage after she had divorced her husband.

Published in Dawn, January 12th, 2018