Pot calling the kettle black: Imran Khan reserves the right to privacy, but Maryam Nawaz and Bilawal Bhutto don’t?

Published: January 9, 2018

The entire social media, where PTI has a massive presence, is reeking of similar hypocrisy and double standards.

A few weeks ago, before the media storm was unleashed by Imran Khan’s alleged third marriage, a friend of mine sent me a WhatsApp message in which he mocked Bilawal Bhutto Zardari. His contention was that Bilawal had “technical” faults and was a closet homosexual. I tried to ignore him at first, but he kept pressing at the issue. I replied by saying that firstly, he had no proof for making such an assertion and secondly, even if it was true, it was his personal matter.

Some days later, I got another message, in which he was desecrating Maryam Nawaz’s character by alleging that she had eloped 25 years ago with Safdar Awan. This allegation perturbed me a lot and I requested him not to make such baseless assertions and reminded him that Maryam’s marriage was her private matter.

Ironically, the same friend texted me in the middle of the media frenzy regarding his leader Imran’s third marriage and started lecturing me about the need for respecting Imran’s private life. Funnily enough, he also sent me the video clip of Bilawal’s short response terming it as the most mature response. I politely reminded him of his earlier texts about Bilawal and Maryam and pointed out his obviously different standards. He chose to remain silent in response.

But my friend is not alone. The entire social media, where Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) has a massive presence, is reeking of similar hypocrisy and double standards. Right now, they want to thrust “it is his personal life” mantra down the throats of everyone, while they themselves have, for years, been indulging in shameless character assassination of their political opponents. On Twitter, I have seen shameless tweets suggesting that Maryam’s daughter was born after merely four months of marriage and also about how she had supposedly eloped in 1992.

One has to merely follow her, or Reham Khan’s account to understand the level of filth some of the PTI supporters are capable of.

To be fair here, I have seen similar level of posts made by other parties also. I once wrote about the way Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz’s (PML-N) supporters often tried to drag Tyrian White in their online battle against PTI. I argued that constantly harping on the Sita White issue was frankly wrong and bringing Tyrian into the discussion was completely disgusting and third-rated.

In Imran’s supposed third marriage case also, PML-N’s online behaviour is sickening. Mahwash Ajaz summed up the online battle very aptly in the following tweet:

However, while it is correct to argue that other parties have also done the same, the problem here is that it is PTI which always claims to be some sort of anti-status quo party. Yet, in reality, their online behaviour is actually filthier, augmented by their comparatively larger presence in the social media.

Today, these self-righteous supporters and abusers are requesting for privacy while completely forgetting their own disgusting behaviour when it comes to opposition leaders.

But their hypocrisy aside, from a normative perspective, is their claim that marriage is a totally private affair correct?

The problem is that globally, marriages of famous politicians and celebrities are discussed in the media. One cannot keep it under the wraps, even if one wishes to make it a totally private affair. How you marry and where you marry will always be a topic of discussion.

Problem is not with the coverage of the news but rather the nature of the coverage. In Imran’s case, I do agree that media coverage has been irresponsible and bent on creating excessive hype. Moreover, it has also shown glimpses of completely unethical journalism. For example, an article (now taken off) from a leading daily attributed statements from Bushra Manika’s former husband blaming Imran for the break-up of his marriage. However, subsequently her ex-husband had to record a video message  in which he made it clear that he had not said any such things. This kind of reporting is irresponsible and morally wrong.

Imran’s marriage, whether it has taken place or not, will continue to be discussed. PTI supporters are wrong to expect that it will be treated as a completely private affair. However, they are correct in their criticism of the way it is being covered. At the same time, they should also realise that their own behaviour also reeks of the same filth which they are accusing others of.


Raza Habib Raja

The author is a recent Cornell graduate and currently pursuing his PhD in political science at Maxwell School, Syracuse University. He has also worked for a leading development finance institution in Pakistan. He is a freelance journalist whose works have been published at Huffington Post, Dawn (Pakistan), Express Tribune (Pakistan) and Pak Tea House. He tweets @razaraja (twitter.com/razaraja?lang=en)

The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of The Express Tribune.

  • sharjeel Abid

    A fine example of unbiased reportingRecommend

  • Khan

    Before even opening the article, I was able to guess who the author is.Recommend

  • Salman Raheel

    It’s almost hilarious how the writer roped in Reham Khans case to rally hate against Imran Khan, so replying to him in his own defective tone…….Have you forgotten that it was PMLN’s cyber warriors who targeted Reham and shared all her pics & videos in skimpy clothes when she married IK? PMLN stooges went as far as even investigating her degrees. That’s the sordid way of how politics work in this country; sadly journalism seems a step ahead and you are not so different.Recommend

  • rumi52

    All Pakistani politicians are as bad as each other, including members of the PTI. However, can the writer of this article, who is a PPP supporter, find a single negative quote from Imran Khan himself? I notice how he has placed a video of Bilawal Bhutto making a mature statement about this being a personal matter to show this guy in a positive light. But can the writer provide a video of Imran Khan himself making negative remarks about Maryam Nawaz or Bilawal Bhutto? Otherwise the average PPP, Muslim League and PTI supporters are all as bad as each other when it comes to communicating negative allegations against each other’s party leaders. Very clever of the writer to use this article to give publicity to Bilawal.Recommend

  • sterry

    The problem with Imran Khan supporters is that they have come to treat him like some superhero, instead of a man with faults. I am really sick of the personality cult that promotes a person instead of a policy and economic plan. Imran Khan has plenty of faults but what turns people off is that PTI followers always make up excuses for their leader but never stop to lecture others about why Bilawal is bad and Maryam is bad or so so and so is bad. It is the hypocritical behaviour of Imran Khan’s followers that has turned people against him. We can talk all we want about Imran Khan’s daughter from a girlfriend in the past but it only bothers me when people don’t call him out on his own behavior when he blasts others. Only a few days ago PTI was rubbishing reports of the planned 3rd marriage and now they admit, Imran Khan has proposed to his spiritual guide! I am sorry to say, Imran Khan is flippant and unstable which is why people dislike him now. He has overseas accounts, engages in dharnas to topple the government instead of waiting for elections, slings mud around when he speaks and doesn’t appear to care about anyone but himself. This should be reason enough to disqualify him from any sane voter considering PTI.Recommend

  • RHR

    Thank you!Recommend

  • RHR

    At least read the complete article! PTI supporter? I can feel the hurt!Recommend

  • Parvez

    Now that made me smile…. your style reminded me of the story of the village maulvi who in order to show that music was forbidden put two tablas on either side and repeatedly played on both, all the while saying that this was wrong.
    I think that public figure’s private life is not really private because they are ‘ public figures ‘….having said that the way the public responds to news such as this is a refection of their level of maturity….sadly we are on about the lowest rung of the maturity ladder.Recommend

  • M. S. Chaudhry

    There is no kosher at the dinner table…Recommend

  • Patwari

    Agree with you 100%. A stooge for Sharif.Recommend

  • RHR

    PTI supporter? I can feel the hurt. By the way article does mention at the end that media coverage is unfair and even accuses a certain media group of unethical journalism. At least read the article till the end before getting so riled up!
    However, at the same time it is also critical of social media supporters of PTI as this was the main thrust of the article.Recommend

  • Patwari

    You keep repeating the same mantra in your comments. Again and again.
    Imran Khan’s daughter, Imran Khan’s daughter, Imran Khan’s daughter….
    Even the aliens in the Andromeda Galaxy know about it now. The people in
    Mali, Barkina Faso, Papua/New Guinea, Fiji Islands have heard it by now.
    You have anything new? Like $millions and $millions stashed in Panama by
    Imran Khan? Or anything like 43 luxury villas owned by Sharifs in Dubai?
    Or does Imran owns 4 luxury apartments in London? Or does Imran owns19
    other rental properties in London, like the Sharifs? Imran has a Dubai’s iqama?
    What about the Raiwind Palace Compound? Where each family member have
    their own luxurious house.
    Does Imran has two sons who are proclaimed absconders? On exit control list?
    Say, third time deposed former PM is not coming back to the throne. He is history.
    Time for you to move on. Pick another agenda, like Maryam Safdar.Recommend

  • rizwan

    And who showed them the way? The entire 126 day dharna was full of hurling abuses on political opponents which was absorbed then but now its coming out slowly bit by bit and only one person is responsible for all this and that’s IKRecommend


    Drawing a comparison between allegations of eloping, homosexuality, and IK sending a proposal to a woman (who is considering it) is perplexing to any Easterner. I am wondering why he thinks like a Westerner while he’s a Pakistani, although he resides in the West.

    IK has yet to be found guilty of any misuse of public office or corruption while both PML-N and PPP are synonymous to abuse of power and corruption.Recommend

  • Mohsin

    How did editors allow article to be published. Are you guys serious? This is now about hyprocricy of Imran or any other politician but talking about random people – I don’t care who they support – thats what random people will do – Nawaz supporters will support Nawaz hypocritically and so will Imrans – can we please have some sensical articles – I will never get back the 2 minutes wasted on this article.Recommend

  • Sheraz Khalid


  • Rex Minor

    This should be reason enough to disqualify him from any sane voter considering PTI.

    He stands disqualified since he does not hold any Governmnt office except being the head of the PTI which he founded and patented it. It is the others who seek a poltical or private reputation who come near him and leave him too when their mission is accomplished. As a matter of fact both of his wives needed a publicity in the UK social circle and departed after they could not tolerate any longer his narcistic mannrs and crouded style of life. Now the third one is in the line who has alreay received enough publicity before sharing his villa in Islamabad. He requies a wife from Punjab to win over the Punjab governance without which he has not the chance to become the Prime Minister of the country.

    Rex MinorRecommend

  • RHR

    I don’t have any reading issues in Urdu. The article mentions PML N also. If level of filth has to assessed then there are many many examples of PTI supporters which can’t even be published.
    Now regarding the Sita White case, I have written an entire article that it is wrong to keep it bringing upRecommend

  • RHR

    You seem to have multiple identities. Good troll!Recommend

  • RHR

    People like you have lots of free time anyways! For trolling purposes!Recommend

  • Patwari

    Wow! Exactly! Great comment.

  • Patwari

    So do you.Recommend

  • RHR

    Not as much as you seem to have. I mean literally where ever IK is attacked you seem to turnup. Plus a fake ID! Pretty pathetic. Not for forget lame humor!Recommend