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Friday, April 12, 2024

Wife of Pakistan’s Imran Khan, charged with graft, is known for spirituality

Born Bushra Riaz Watto, she changed her name to Khan after her marriage. Her husband and followers commonly refer to her as Bushra Bibi or Bushra Begum, titles that in Urdu denote respect.

Bushra Khan, the wife of Pakistan’s former Prime Minister Imran Khan, is facing corruption charges in the same case that led to his arrest on May 9. On Monday, he accompanied her to a court that granted her protective bail, reports Reuters.

She is known for her spirituality and devotion to Sufism, a mystical form of Islam. Khan, 70, has often called Bushra his spiritual leader.

Born Bushra Riaz Watto, she changed her name to Khan after her marriage. Her husband and followers commonly refer to her as Bushra Bibi or Bushra Begum, titles that in Urdu denote respect.

She has kept a low profile since her marriage to Khan, a former cricket hero who has been in the public eye for decades.

Read more: Mufti Saeed makes big claim on Imran Khan’s nikkah with Bushra Bibi

EARLY LIFE

Bushra, who is in her late 40s, hails from a family of landowners in Punjab. Little is known about her early life. Her first marriage, which lasted about 30 years, was to Khawar Farid Maneka, a customs officer from a politically influential Punjab family. After their divorce in 2018 he was quoted by Pakistani media as saying: “I want to clearly state about my former wife, Bushra Bibi, that I have not seen a woman as pious as her in the world”.

Bushra and Maneka have five children.

MYSTIC, SECRET MARRIAGE

Both Bushra and ex-husband Maneka are devotees of Fariduddin Masud Ganjshakar, or Baba Farid, a revered Muslim mystic and Sufi saint whose shrine is located in Maneka’s hometown of Pakpattan in Punjab.

Pakistanis who admire Bushra’s devotion to the saint call her a spiritual leader while Khan’s opponents accuse her of practicing sorcery, a claim Khan’s aides have repeatedly denied. In a rare interview, Bushra told the local HUM news network in 2018 that “people would come to see me get closer to God and the Prophet”.

Read more: Javed Latif slammed for sexist remarks on Bushra Bibi

It was not clear when or how Khan met Bushra, but former aide Aun Chaudhry said Khan was very impressed with her spirituality.

Khan, who had acquired a playboy image in the 1990s as his cricket career took off, has previously said he was keenly interested in Sufism.