If you are an alien whose spaceship docked in Pakistan this week, you would have little difficulty pinpointing the issue agitating the minds and hearts of people.

Wagging tongues, social media ablaze, television and print media excited beyond belief. What on earth could it be?

Is it the Zainab Amin murder case? The “Bahadur Baccha” (brave kid) roaming the corridors of power? Our contrary foreign policy predicated on sovereignty which aids Arab princes in doing their best to make the Houbara Bustard extinct as fast as possible? The court cases dogging footsteps of the Phoenix Sharif family after being compared to the Sicilian Mafia by no less than our esteemed judiciary? The constant devaluation of the rupee which is sinking faster than the Titanic?

Why is Imran Khan’s marital status and choice of partner a matter of national concern?

These may be vital issues, but one matter takes precedence over all others. The state of the union of Imran Khan. The marital union. Will he or won’t he? Has he or hasn’t he? If he has, why is he hiding it? Why doesn’t he admit it?   

Considering that the unvarnished truth is as rare here as a clean street in Karachi, why should Mr Khan not have the right to announce his marriage when he wishes to? As the poor chap said earlier, he has not robbed a bank or embezzled millions, so why the witch hunt? If he’s more keen on marriage than the Lodhran election strategy, that is his choice.

Now that PTI has shared the pictures of the widely rumoured nikah, isn’t that the end of the matter? But then you would be underestimating the unrelenting investigative prowess of the media, keyboard warriors and couch potatoes in dissecting the pictures.

If the nikah took place now and not on January 1 as reported, why are the guests in sweaters? The temperature in Lahore on the day PTI announced the nikah was 28 degrees. Why is there mango juice in the glasses? Mango season is over now, hain ji? In this temperature, why is Khan Sahib wearing black socks with his ubiquitous Peshawari chappals?

The reporter who had announced the nikah back in January, much to the discomfiture of PTI, opined sarcastically how gracious of Imran Khan it was to prove him right by marrying Bushra Maneka nee Pinky with thesame nikahkhwaan and witnesses, even if it were a month later.   

If one can defend the right of Qandeel Baloch to bare and be comfortable in her own skin, why is Pinky’s cover up leading to grimaces and derision? Being a pirni and a mother of five children, she is not a spring chicken who has to be forced into purdah.

Every media channel one turned to in the hope of watching anything but this marriage was busy in trumpeting that they had an exclusive for viewers showcasing the pictures which were distributed not by a mole, but PTI itself. Perhaps media mandarins are no longer aware of what an exclusive constitutes, much like ethics and a code of conduct.                              

The fascination with who poor Imran Khan marries continues unabated, whether it be Jemima, Reham or Pinky. However, there was not much of Pinky to display since she sat with head bowed, wearing a loose grey ensemble, with a veil of celebratory red. The lack of features or limbs did not deter anyone. The questions came fast and furious. Why is she hidden like that? She must be oppressed because she does not have an identity! What kind of an example is Imran Khan setting by marrying this Ninja? Mocking memes popped up showing Imran Khan’s marital journey from Jemima to Reham to Pinky as a reflection of his increasingly conservative values.

If one can defend the right of Qandeel Baloch to bare and be comfortable in her own skin, why is Pinky’s cover up leading to grimaces and derision? Being a pirni and a mother of five children, she is not a spring chicken who has to be forced into purdah. Talking of purdah, the pictures of her family at the nikah show the female members with peroxided hair sans veils. Not too farfetched to conclude that this is a family where women can make their own decisions on how to dress.

Imran Khan’s brides just cannot escape the national periscope. Why did Zionist Jemima not cover up? Why did the laughing Reham dance the tango; why did she wear miniskirts? Why is Pinky not showing her face?

Gutter level jokes were not far behind. Pinky’s age was referred to in a crude manner by a senior journalist, because probably he would have preferred Mr Khan to have married a simpering young thing, as is the general practice, rather than a woman with kids closer to his age.

His “joke” speaks more about the state of our media than the state of Imran Khan’s union.

The columnist is a freelance writer.
She tweets  @MaheenUsmani  Email: maheenusmani25@gmail.com

Published in Dawn, EOS, February 25th, 2018