Reham Khan chose to go public on her private life
(Image The News Teller)
When a couple get divorced it can become acrimonious and very difficult where children are involved. Many will say that is for the two persons to sort out in private, however when both choose to use the media to get their points across, then its perfectly reasonable for media to make comment. Such is the case of Reham Khan and her ex husband Dr Ijaz Rehman.
Reham decided to go public earlier this year with claims of “domestic violence” stating she had not done so before as she said,
‘I was in [the] media and I felt it would be unfair to expose the other party.’
This was strenuously denied by Dr Rehman. The Daily Mail reported that he rejected the allegations saying strongly,
‘I have never lifted hands on anyone. I have never been involved in any kind of domestic violence in any shape or form.”
See also “Reham Khan opens up about ex husband “domestic violence”
I deplore and condemn domestic violence having worked with survivors of abuse during my professional career. In this case as no evidence has been provided by either person to date, it is currently one person’s word against another. However on another matter the question of financial support on separation, documents have now been placed in the public domain.
Why does it matter?
Both Reham and Dr Rehman are in positions of responsibility. One as a newly appointed Ambassador for Street children in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, (now the wife of opposition politician Imran Khan, Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf, PTI) the other a psychiatrist. Both are dealing with vulnerable people, Reham with youngsters that have suffered neglect and abuse and Dr Rehman treating those with mental health problems.
The public issue is not so much the question of payments (or lack of them) to a former spouse after separation but who is telling the truth. Honesty is a moral issue and both the afore mentioned are in a position of trust, responsibility and accountability and have placed their disagreements for all to see in the press, including their children.
Reham was recently exposed for providing “misinformation” on where she studied and subsequently changed details to her personal website. She claimed to have a postgraduate diploma in journalism from North Lindsey College, Lincolnshire and appeared to have forgotten she actually studied at Grimsby Institute Media Centre see,
“No degree in broadcast journalism and a change of info on where she studied”
Dr Rehman with wife Dr Samavia Rehman and children in battle for the truth
(Image via Samavia Rehman, Twitter)
She also made allegations claiming her husband had failed to provide for her and the children financially. The Daily Mail quoted Dr Rehman who said,
“as for me not financially supporting my kids, how on earth could someone in my position working for the NHS get away with such a thing? After the divorce I paid 25 per cent of my £6,000 monthly salary to the Child Support Agency (CSA).
‘She continued to claim child benefit and my CSA contribution, even after leaving the country to resettle in Pakistan. I have proof that this went on for more than a year. I certainly paid maintenance for all my children right up to 2014. I would like to see the matter investigated properly by the departments concerned.'”
Once again it was one person’s word against another until an account allegedly linked to Dr Rehman began tweeting a series of documents and photos which appeared to contradict Reham’s accusations. The account was in the name of Samavia Rehman, the doctor’s wife. According to these documents, Dr Rehman had in fact provided for his children as he claimed..He had paid for private schooling, given the necessary financial support for several years doing his duty for longer than legally required as stated in the letter from the Child Support Agency.
Documents provided by Dr Rehman can be seen below,
This is the general link for the Child Support Agency for the UK explaining the rules in the UK,
Dr Rehman also claimed to have provided a divorce settlement stating,
“she got everything; all the antique furniture that now graces the home she shares with Imran, £ 50,000 in cash, half my pension and my children. I was left with nothing but a mountain of debts after the divorce and a £ 100,000 legal bill.”
In addition to this he tweeted he had given “jaheez” (a form of gift) to Reham to take to the home of her new husband.
Baaghi TV who earlier reported on the tweets stated,
“Today, husband tweeted with documents and proofs claiming that his ex-wife Reham Khan has always been lying to Pakistani people”
PTI has a loyal supporter base and sadly some appear to have lost their ability to determine what is justified concern and instead troll critics in an aggressive way even if they argue in a reasonable manner. I did express my worries to one of their biggest supporters, well known on social media for his activities with PTI. I won’t name him as his response was private but he did admit,
“you have powerful arguements”
Imran Khan (PTI Chairman) married to Reham (Image, AP)
Reham herself enthused in one of her videos that she is a “good actor”, time will tell. Today she has an “essay” in Newsweek which although attempting to address gender issues and opposition she is facing, is well timed in that it provides a distraction from issues related to her questioned honesty. I left the following comment…
“you seem to have an outdated view on tackling gender issues more rooted in middle class western feminism than grassroots local activism, disappointing. Though nothing about you is quite what is seems as your ex husband points out in documents released this week and which you have so far failed to address! Not much hope for gender equality if you are afraid to answer Dr Rehman… “
No doubt I will be portrayed by Twitter trolls as a “jealous woman” (the assumption being all females wish to be the wife of Imran Khan) and the type of sexist comment thrown at women who dare to question. I have respect for Imran, for perseverance, hard work and effort and I have for several years supported PTI against drones and on human rights issues. I declined however to join the party as a member though asked numerous times by supporters preferring to maintain my independence. I did have direct e-mail contact with Imran after I was invited to be the special guest at Kings’ College, London where he was speaking. I wished to engage on a number of issues but after disappointment over lack of response to concerns raised including a letter I wrote trying to save the lives of 23 FC men (see “Links” section) and difficulty in obtaining an interview (I am not mainstream media by choice and circumstance and not part of the “elite”) I ceased contact over a year ago.
I believe Imran is well intentioned and there has never been any sign of corruption like some politicians. He has motivated youth, stood for his beliefs and done a great job raising funds for health care in honor of his late mother. He has a right to a personal life and am aware he and ex- wife Jemima did not have the easiest of times in the face of some critics and opposition. At this present time however I question his judgement.
If Reham was attached to any other party he would be raising the same questions as I about honesty and the information she has presented to the media. He talks of “meritocracy” yet his wife was appointed to the role of Ambassador for Street Children in KP seemingly in a “one horse race” where no other candidates appeared to be interviewed. It is also irrelevant whether this is a paid post or voluntary, safety issues for kids remain the same. This is a long term gripe given that I have seen many committed, hard working, well qualified grassroots workers side-lined for a “celebrity” or someone given a post through a connection. Fairness would be opening such an opportunity to ALL suitable candidates including the women of Pakistan that Reham claims to support. Let’s have the “compete with the rest, select the best” policy.
I have read her essay in Newsweek and as a person with a Masters in Gender, Culture and Development (Distinction). I support many of her concerns as have raised such issues, campaigned and worked on practical solutions myself for years for the most part without funding or celebrity help and status. (Largely as a result of the state unlawfully killing my family).
I have no need to emulate Reham. I have already worked on orphanage/ boarding school project years ago in Romania facing very challenging conditions and elsewhere and raised money for charitable projects. I am well qualified (with proof of a number of qualifications both academic and professional) and have research, photography and human rights awards. In addition my life path led me to work on several documentaries with the BBC and other international news channels and to be part of a small team as Executive Producer for an Oscar nominated documentary, “Incident in New Baghdad”.
I declined an offer from a well- known director to make a drama film of my life as I am basically a private person…. I have been asked to write chapters for academic books and offered a book contract. My work as a activist has been audio -archived and is available to academic researchers at a well -known institution as part of a social history project. I could go on further in a “written selfie” simply to make my point but will stop here. Yes Reham, I have already “been there, done that” so my perspective is one of life experience.
Where is the accountability?
If Reham wants to raise standards for children in Pakistan, why does she not campaign for proper background and police checks for all working with young persons? I raise concerns because the issue here is honesty and trust.
Is a person who “misinforms” and in the words of Baaghi TV “lies” fit to work with children and vulnerable persons? I recall when I was working in mental health, a fellow student who was a fantasizer and you never knew what to believe. She was considered a “risk” because she was working with deluded persons and was actually more delusional than many of the patients. So yes I have my concerns regarding those who are prone to exaggeration as described by Dr Rehman.
Why is a woman who failed to speak out during her marriage on alleged domestic violence now urging others to do so? Again hypocrisy and double standards… as I have written before she is a woman of contradictions. See following link,
“Celebrity Shortfall: Contradictory messages from Reham Khan on domestic child abuse”
As for gender, I have written the essays and highlighted “gender justice” directly with female ministers in the UK but this is equally an issue to address through daily action and with men. As well as human rights I write on insurgency, a very male environment engaging directly with those often labelled as “misogynist” to interview and as a person in my own right. My eyes have been opened in many ways but not in the way I anticipated. I have experienced far less misogyny than in the UK workplace. Every invitation to engage on peace, polio, drones or education has been thwarted not by militants but by establishment including blocking visas and regular warnings reminding me of the torture and murder of my journalist colleague. There was a time last year for peace talks but little genuine support as alleged state “extra judicial killings” continued during this period leading to a cessation of “goodwill”. But Imran knows most of this… I updated him regularly by email as he supported “dialogue”.
To return to Reham, why is she not speaking out when evidence of documents is presented by Dr Rehman, there is a moral issue here. On principle she should acknowledge these documents. No word either from Imran… And what of the children? This must be confusing for all, for the kids of Reham and Dr Rehman caught between 2 parents and Imran’s boys and alleged daughter (no mention of this when Reham does her gender dialogues) seeing this played out in public. Reham is quick to present herself as a working woman with a good career championing gender… I wonder is she independent enough to provide for herself or does she still expect a man to pay for her? Am tired of the hypocrisy.
My message to Reham on her Newsweek article (see Links section)
“I respect the fight of BOTH sexes for the rights of women and have campaigned for years myself. However the first fight must be with yourself… the “misinformation” you are giving out is now very obvious and not only harmful to you but to others. How can Pakistan even think of you as an advocate for women and children unless you address this issue? Tales of a past life of poverty and drama just aren’t working only the naive and gullible are falling for that… Your ex husband’s documents show otherwise… and having helped people claim benefits in UK, I recognize the familiar papers… which are standardized letters sent out to sort out financial payments post separation… Your ex has now provided proof, where is your evidence… or are we supposed to take the word of a woman who can’t even remember where she studied? Women and children must be able to trust those working on their behalf… There is indeed work to be done treating women with respect… some men would reduce women to a pretty face ignoring all other negative aspects… that is misogyny!”
Finally a reminder…
“O you who believe! Fear God, and be with those who are true (in word and deeds).” (Quran 9:119)
“Can Reham Khan recover from damning claims of ex”
“Pakistan: Warning letter on human rights abuses in custody was ignored, Taliban kill 23 FC men in retaliation”
“Take your best shot”
Carol Anne Grayson is an independent writer/researcher on global health/human rights/WOT and is Executive Producer of the Oscar nominated, Incident in New Baghdad . She is a Registered Mental Nurse with a Masters in Gender Culture and Development. Carol was awarded the ESRC, Michael Young Prize for Research 2009, and the COTT ‘Action = Life’ Human Rights Award’ for “upholding truth and justice”. She is also a survivor of US “collateral damage”.