Reham described as wanting to be “the centre of attention” with children from left, Inaya, Ridah, Reham and Sahir
(Image via Reham Khan Facebook page)
One can only feel sorry for the children of Pakistani journalist Reham Khan and Dr Ijaz Rehman caught up in the unsettling maelstrom of a relationship turned sour and the aftermath of a subsequent divorce. Sahir Khan, their son, has now gone public on alleged abuse naming his father by producing a “Court Order” and “Power of Arrest” document issued in the name of both parents, mother as applicant and father as respondent. The document gives a list of instructions and restrictions to Dr Rehman and states, “the court is satisfied that the respondent has used or threatened violence against the applicant or the following children”. (If for example a person makes an “allegation” of violence, the documents acts as a warning.)
However there does not appear to be any evidence of legal convictions to prove any act of violence alleged with regard to Dr Rehman who also has 2 daughters Inaya and Ridah with Reham. According to a blog released by Sahir, his father, “doesn’t have a criminal record”. He states,
“my mother could have destroyed his career but she chose to protect us from further trauma and move on to give us a safe, secure and better future. She counted her blessings and didn’t press it. He should have taken his second chance.”
I am aware Dr Rehman has other documents with his solicitor which may present a different picture to that presented by Reham and Sahir.
See below for Court Order, Power of Arrest document
Dr Rehman provides “Enhanced Disclosure” clearance document showing “no convictions” and discusses Reham
I spoke to Dr Rehman to verify a certificate he sent me which was an “Enhanced Disclosure” clearance document confirming a background check for employment showing he has no criminal convictions. He has a right to give his account of events especially considering the lack of convictions. Dr Rehman had cleared all categories. (I have not published due to uncertainty over whether he is allowed to disclose the details). Dr Rehman alleged that not long before things came to a head Reham had thrown a “hard toy” forcefully at her husband which had hurt his arm for several days. He described her as a “materialistic” woman who enjoyed being “the centre of attention” driving a “merc” (Mercedes) with personalized number plates costing several thousand pounds. He recalls buying her a ring worth $20,000 reduced from $25,000 bought during a trip to the US. He claimed she did not seem to want a “normal family life”.
He had found his ex wife to be “superficial” and told how they had once missed an important delivery from the postman as she had not wanted to answer the door without wearing make-up. Although he did not want to name the individuals involved at this stage, he also spoke of Reham’s close relationships with other men, including one student “half her age” who had “dumped her” and the embarrassment felt on learning from others where she had been. She allegedly met elsewhere so her children would not see. He said “you can’t control a person” its down to them and their “personal morals”.
Dr Rehman said if Reham felt she was treated badly by him, why did she not go through recognized channels like a GP or seek other help as she had the freedom to come and go and had her own transport. He recalls an arguement allegedly provoked by Reham who called the police and he felt this was her way of ensuring contact ended. Dr Rehman states, the police were satisfied there were no injuries.
Reham was described as being very skillful in complimenting others but always with the purpose in mind of getting what she wanted and a woman who changed to suit her surroundings. He said she was also someone who didn’t like to be proven wrong and showed no interest in study. Dr Rehman stated he had not minded his wife working and had even driven her to an interview when the BBC were talent spotting for presenters, she had been shortlisted but did not get the job. Dr Rehman stated that the children had said they did not want contact via a social worker and wondered why she had taken so long to leave if life was that difficult.
Dr Rehman with wife Samavia and children
In contrast he was very complimentary about his present wife Samavia who had come along when he had far less in financial terms following his divorce settlement after paying out to Reham. At the time of the call, Samavia was out for the day with a friend over from Norway with Dr Rehman taking care of the twins (from this marriage) who could be heard laughing and playing in the background.
Reham expressed a desire to meet Khan during her marriage to Dr Rehman (Image, India.com)
Dr Rehman said he was “amused” to learn that his ex wife had changed her name to Khan after their divorce. He explained her father’s name was Nayyer Ramzan but Reham hated the name Ramzan due to its religious connotations (the name meaning Islamic holy month of Ramadan, Ramzan). So she was using her father’s first name Nayyar before they got married. Her attitude was in contrast to her brother who Dr Rehman described as a “fundamentalist” who hadn’t liked his photo taken and allegedly had posters of Osama bin Laden in his residence. He said “where did she get Khan from?”
According to her husband she had been very keen to meet former cricketer Imran Khan even during their marriage and had once asked him to try to get a family friend to introduce them in the UK. He had said it might have been possible but would cost over £100 each for a ticket for a charity dinner and if they had to travel where would their 3 children stay for the night. It it is unclear whether his friend was ever able to oblige with a meeting for Reham after the divorce. Dr Rehman said he was shocked to learn from the papers she had later managed to “hook up” with a “famous person” Imran Khan, now Chairman of Pakistan Tehreek -e-Insaf (PTI) opposition party. Reham had secured an interview with him in his trailer during ongoing political action and later married him.
Action on domestic violence
All domestic violence both physical and emotional abuse in any family must be condemned strongly. It is unclear from the Court Order and Power of Arrest document what exactly sparked the move to the county court but anyone convicted of violent behaviour should be held accountable legally for their actions.
Legal channels should be easily accessible to those that need to use these services with Victim Support groups on hand to make the process of taking action against an abusive partner as straightforward as possible. Where abuse in the home may be an issue, schools also have a “duty of care” to document and act on any concerns. In addition there is Childline a free telephone service for children to use where they can report domestic violence and receive help and support.
Sahir is full of of praise and support for his mother calling her “a fighter” and his “biggest inspiration” whilst his father considers him “brainwashed”. Anyone staying in a situation where domestic violence is occurring is NOT protecting a child. The adult can CHOOSE to stay or leave, the child has no choice, they are dependant on the parents for safety and security.
Reham Khan having alleged abuse and then obtaining a Court Order, Power of Arrest does not appear to have alerted the relevant health authorities where Dr Rehman worked regarding any risk. If she considered herself and her children to be under threat, has she failed in raising the alert for vulnerable adults under her former husband’s care in a psychiatric setting?
Sahir states in relation to his allegations,
“yes that’s right. Significant violence against the defendant and the children. In the absence of any typical support network of family or friends, she finally filed for divorce after 13 years. The first thing I said to her was ‘You should have done it sooner. I’m always by your side’. I was 12 years old. I’d been seeing it for years. That sort of abuse makes a serious impact on a kid. I haven’t forgotten anything.”
Sahir’s full statement can be read here in its entirety
Reham, who changed her name to Khan before meeting him and Sahir (image tweeted by her son)
This is a particularly disturbing allegation that parents would ALLOW a child to witness any abuse that was going on between them for years on end which is a dangerous form of CHILD ABUSE in itself.
What impact would this have on young ones? Kids would likely require support, counselling and intervention of social services, independent bodies to ensure their wellbeing. How might it affect a child in the long run as abuse can carry on to the next generation and this also needs addressing.
Ongoing education on prevention of domestic violence is essential for both sexes. If a family situation does turn aggressive, the UK has for years offered safe houses for females in the form of the women’s refuge where a person can go and their partner will not be informed that they are in residence. Some places take children so there are options for abused women. Both emergency and temporary accommodation is available to those made homeless through domestic violence.
In an dysfunctional and violent relationship there is the “abuser” who should be held fully to account legally and the “codependent” who sadly often maintains the status quo for years even where children are at significant risk.
With regard to codependency “Out of the Fog” support network for families states,
“codependency is the tendency for the victim in an abusive relationship to develop dysfunctional patterns or habits in the process of trying to cope with a family member or partner who is abusive or neglectful or has an addiction. These patterns include denial of the problem, enabling or support of the abusive behavior, poor sense of self-worth, abandonment of personal goals or values and development of controlling or manipulative behaviors.
Codependents are generally unsatisfied with the status quo, yet often fear the consequences of trying to make a change, of trying to detach or put a stop to the abuse.”
Parents primary duty is to protect their children. No responsible adult should allow a minor to witness violent and damaging scenes for years on end.
There is also a need for full background checks for those working with children and vulnerable adults for all job applicants. By law in the UK if not Pakistan, individuals are required to undertake police checks and full assessment of their mental and physical state before being allowed to work with these groups as well as checks on qualifications and experience. This is generally the same whether a post is paid or unpaid. Although this is part of child protection regulations in Britain (and it can still fail) it seems to be largely overlooked in Pakistan where safety is not seen as important thus increasing the risk for juveniles.
Abused persons (males and females) will often repeat patterns of negative behaviour… jumping “out of the frying pan into the fire”. For example a woman who claims abuse may leave one relationship and go on to marry a man with a history of emotional or physical abuse towards an ex partner or son and daughter thus continuing destructive patterns.
As Erin Pizzey, who opened the first refuge in the world for victims of domestic violence in 1971 said, “I was aware that of the first hundred women who came into the refuge, sixty-two were as violent or, in some cases, more violent than the men they left behind”. Men and women who abuse and are abused owe it to themselves to seek support and if necessary counselling to break the cycle and give themselves the best chance in life.
Children may only fully realize the ongoing impact on their lives when they become parents themselves as they tend to protect the abused person losing perspective that the codependent may have colluded also to keep patterns of violence ongoing over long periods. This is when anger can set in. When children from violent backgrounds have their own families they may lack certain parenting skills or become violent to offspring as that is what they observed growing up. Therefore there is a need for ongoing support to overcome any difficulties which may arise.
The following are the words of a woman who survived a violent relationship and was at one time a co-dependent,
“Open letter to women suffering domestic abuse (guest blog) from a survivor and former co-dependent”
“Reham’s son speaks up provides legal evidence to support mother”
Carol Anne Grayson is an independent writer/researcher on global health/human rights 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”.