A controversial interview of Khawar Maneka, the ex-husband of PTI Chairman Imran Khan’s wife Bu­­s­h­ra Bibi, was a common talking point in political circles on Tuesday, with PTI leaders questioning the moral necessity of the interview and their PML-N adversaries using the same to sling mud at the PTI chief.

In the interview that aired the previous night, Maneka had held Imran responsible for ruining his married life before eventually marrying Bushra Bibi himself.

The interview came just a week after Maneka was released on bail in a land-grabbing case, and also brought to mind the made-for-TV interviews earlier given by the PTI chief’s lieutenants after they were released in different cases.

Appearing on Shahzeb Khanza­da’s show on Geo News, Maneka had accused Imran of “in­­timate involvement” in his home and of being the reason for the subsequent decline of his marriage.

Former Khyber Pakhtunkhwa minister Taimur Jhagra said he was “disgusted” by the interview and said every “sane and decent person in the country” would agree that interrogation of former husbands about their wives was not a part of Pakistan’s culture.

“Will it make any difference to the bulk of the country that supports Imran Khan? Zilch. Is it actually ruining the credibility of how the media and how the state operates? I leave that to you,” he remarked.

Speaking to the media today in Rawalpindi, Sher Afzal Khan Marwat, a member of Imran’s legal team, said the PTI chairman had “expressed great sadness over Maneka’s statement”.

Marwat quoted Imran as saying: “Through such methods, instead of taking the nation towards political stability and rule of law, we are doing that which only an enemy can do.”

Lashing out at Khanzada, the interviewer, PTI leader Hammad Azhar said: “An anchor who for four years pretended to be a LNG (liquefied natural gas) expert without knowing its basic supply and pricing structure is now doing a staged hostage show on matrimonial issues of former spouses. The desperation to target Imran Khan can take some individuals to great depths.”

Meanwhile, PTI leader Babar Awan said the “scripted interview with zero credibility” proved there was nothing else of substance found against the former premier by his opponents.

PTI leader Zulfi Bukhari termed the interview “disgraceful”.

“Pakistani politics fallen below the pits. Gutter show by Shahzeb Khanzada with a known corrupt customs officer. Absolutely shameless things happening just to malign Imran Khan,” he said.

Another PTI leader, Ali Muhammad Khan, said people’s personal honour and respect should not be played with.

Meanwhile, PML-N supremo Nawaz Sharif advised the PTI chief to refrain from talking about Riasat-i-Madina in the aftermath of Maneka’s claims.

PML-N leader Rana Sanaullah, while addressing a press conference in Lahore, was asked if the interview was conducted at the behest of someone, to which he said: “We have started a strange logic that whatever happens, someone is behind it.”

He suggested that instead of looking at the source of the allegations, its content should be examined.

“If they (claims) are wrong then they are wrong. If they are right then they are right […] to my verification and information the claims made are all correct.”

When questioned about his take on the issue, PML-N leader Javed Latif said: “Was there a single thing wrong in what Khawar Maneka said? Were they not all facts? He should have said all this way before.”

PMLN Punjab Spokesperson Uzma Bukhari said there was “nothing new” in the claims. She also criticised the media and PTI’s response to the interview.

PML-N leader Talal Chaudhry, too, decried the PTI’s response and criticism heaped on to Khanzada, and called for the claims made in the interview to be investigated.

Meanwhile, Jamiat Ulema-i-Islam Fazl chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman refrained from commenting on the matter.

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