Imran Khan takes a bow ... and sparks a nationwide row

Imran Khan takes a bow ... and sparks a nationwide row
In this file photo, Pakistani cricketer-turned-opposition leader and head of the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI), Imran Khan, speaks during an interview with AFP at his home in Islamabad on Feb. 5, 2018. (AFP)
Updated 30 June 2018

Imran Khan takes a bow ... and sparks a nationwide row

Imran Khan takes a bow ... and sparks a nationwide row
  • Social media erupted in cries of blasphemy but defendants claimed his sign of respect was being misrepresented
  • Khan spoke out and clarified his actions, denying he was prostrating

ISLAMABAD: Election time is here and PTI’s Imran Khan recently got himself into gear with a visit to the shrine of Baba Fariduddin Ganjshakar, a revered Sufi saint. The visit went in a few moments to a full-on news and social media meltdown.
On arriving at the shrine, accompanied by wife Bushra Maneka and a few PTI members, the chairman appeared to prostrate in front of the doors to the shrine. Sajda in Islamic tradition and prayers is reserved only for Allah, and only in the direction of the Ka’aba with nothing obstructing the path.
The action led to a media firestorm that played out across television channels and sparked heated exchanges across social media, leading to the man himself explaining his actions while being interviewed by Dunya News.

“You can’t be Muslim without believing in Allah and Prophet Muhammad (PBUH). This was not prostration, it was done in respect of Baba Fareed who was a great Sufi saint,” said Khan.
Some took him for his word and others were shocked and expressed disbelief at the videos. Many said this was meant to distract from his politics, while others blamed his conservative wife for her influence.