Weeks before Pakistan elections, controversial book by Imran Khan’s ex-wife threatens to take center stage

Reham Khan. (AFP)
Updated 04 June 2018

Weeks before Pakistan elections, controversial book by Imran Khan’s ex-wife threatens to take center stage

  • Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) party supporter Hamza Ali Abbasi slams Khan’s upcoming book about the author’s brief marriage to Imran Khan
  • PTI Central Information Secretary Fawad Chaudhry accuses Khan of meeting with Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz’s leaders, adding fuel to allegations the book was part of a smear campaign against PTI leader Imran Khan

ISLAMABAD: Twitter is ablaze with fiery exchanges between Hamza Ali Abbasi, an avid supporter of Imran Khan and his Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) party, and the ex-wife of Imran Khan, Reham Khan.
It started on Friday when Abbasi tweeted a scathing review of Khan’s yet-to-be-released book — which leaked last week — saying he had the “unfortunate experience” of reading it.
“Had a very unfortunate experience of reading a manuscript of Reham Khans book. Here is the summary: IK is the most evil man to walk the face of this planet. Reham is the most pious righteous (TaHajjud guzaar) woman ever and Shehbaz Sharif is an amazing guy! #RehamOnPMLNAgenda”

Khan, the ex-wife of Imran Khan who was married to him for nine months, wasted no time in responding. The British-Pakistani journalist accused Abbasi of threatening her for close to a year, saying the only way he could have gotten his hands on her manuscript was through fraud or theft. She also released screen shots of what she said were email exchanges between Abbasi and herself.
“Hamza has been emailing me threats since August 2017. Bullies trying to silence me,” she tweeted.

Abbasi denied the emails Khan posted were from him, while Khan (and many of her Twitter followers) pointed out the ones he was posting had spelling errors in the email addresses, fostering claims the documents were doctored.
As the Twitter exchange between the two continued to heat up, neither side appeared to be willing to back down. 
Khan accused Abbasi, an actor, of being upset because he was not cast in her film “Janaan.” 
Abbasi retaliated, mocking her show and threatening to start discussing parts of her book on SAMAA TV on Monday.
“Seriously? LOL hahahahahahaha Hero in Janaan? NA49? Anyhow, the debate you wanted to have right before elections will happen NOW & fizzle out in a few days till you & the pile of lies you call ur book become irrelevant! Will start discussing ur book content from Monday.”

The escalating exchange of words has prompted PTI’s Central Information Secretary Fawad Chaudhry to step in. 
Chaudhry claimed his party had proof that Khan had met with Maryam Nawaz Sharif, a politician and daughter of former prime minister Nawaz Sharif, adding fuel to allegations that Khan’s book was part of a smear campaign against Imran Khan, and that she was playing into the hands of the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) party.
“We now have solid evidence to prove Reham Khan was meeting @MaryamNSharif through Ahsan Iqbal @betterpakistan so the whole book is an exercise to demolish only real opposition i.e #PTI #RehamOnPMLNAgenda”

Ahsan Iqbal, a member of PML-N, did not take too kindly to being thrown into the discussion either. In a tweet, which was retweeted by Khan herself, he denied claims he was involved in facilitating a meeting between Khan and Nawaz.
“Most shameful PTI resorting to fabricated and distorted emails to defend itself. Neither I ever met Reham Khan except for an interview in Aaj Studio before her marriage with IK nor arranged her meeting with anyone. Pl don’t drag me in matters between ex spouses.”
With only a few weeks left before Pakistan’s elections on July 25, the impact of the inside scoop about the life of PTI leader Imran Khan. through the eyes of his ex-wife in her new book, is undeniable. 
While the Twitter exchange between Khan and Abbasi has slowed down, the latter’s threat that he will be taking his thoughts and selected passages from the book to the airwaves on Monday is expected to garner more media attention on the book.
Meanwhile, Khan says her book will be released in June as planned.


France calls for international consensus on Libya peace process

Updated 18 January 2020

France calls for international consensus on Libya peace process

  • French President Emmanuel Macron due in Berlin on Sunday for the start of crisis summit
  • Priority is ceasefire and negotiations between government and Libyan army, says diplomatic source

French President Emmanuel Macron will arrive in Berlin on Sunday to take part in an international summit that aims to find a peaceful solution to the crisis in Libya.

Ahead of the gathering, a French diplomatic source on Friday said the hope is that an international consensus can be reached to stabilize the situation, despite the differing goals of the participants. With a growing number of nations and groups actively involved in Libya, their goals need to be clarified, he added. France is participating in part to follow up on previous commitments it has made, he said, which need to be reconfirmed given the current volatile situation.

The source said that in light of the power struggle that has developed between the national unity government in Tripoli, led by Prime Minister Fayez Al-Sarraj, and the Libyan National Army, commanded by Field Marshal Khalifa Haftar, which occupies about 80 per cent of the country, Macron will raise a number of issues, including: the necessity of ending the fighting between both sides in and around Tripoli, the only part of the country Haftar does not control; and the need for Al-Sarraj and Haftar to agree to negotiations within a framework agreed by the Berlin summit.

In addition to France, the participants in the peace conference include the US, Russia, China, the UK, Germany, Italy, the UAE, Turkey and a number of other African and Arab nations and organizations.

Despite the volatile backdrop against which it takes place, there are hopes that a peaceful solution is still possible if an internationally brokered agreement can be reached for a ceasefire and reconciliation process. Otherwise, it is feared Libya will become another battleground for warring regional and global powers.

The French diplomatic source said the conditions for a ceasefire were set by the UN Security Council in August last year, but that Russia, Turkey and Al-Sarraj have added additional conditions that are unacceptable to Haftar. The view from Paris, he added, is that any attempt to negotiate a ceasefire must be on realistic terms, and the priority is to prevent any escalation in fighting or expansion of the forces at war in the country. With this in mind, the announcement by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan that he is sending troops to Tripoli is very worrying, he added.

The source said that if the peace effort is to succeed, all international powers need to take responsibility for their role in reaching a consensus to ensure stability, regardless of which side they support in the conflict.

He also called on all nations to respect an existing UN embargo on the supply of arms to the warring factions in Libya. The country is at risk of falling prey to many disruptive influences, he added, and the fear is that should the efforts to kick start peace negotiations fail, the flood gates will open and arms and troops will pour in. The country is on the brink of a total collapse that can only be prevented by a ceasefire, followed by an agreed political process to negotiate peace, he said.