By Qamar Bashir
Former Press Secretary to the President Press Minister at the Pakistani Embassy in France
In 1987, Imran Khan, the most eligible bachelor of the 1980s and 1990s, reportedly met Sita White in 1987. The daughter and heiress of the late British industrialist and billionaire Lord Gordon White, as well as a prominent American industrialist. She fell instantly in love with the stunningly handsome young man. In contrast to other brief relationships, his relationship with Sita White lasted over six years. Reportedly, they decided to have a child in 1991, and their daughter Tyrian Jade was born at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles in June 1992. Khan reportedly refused to accept Tyrian as his daughter nonetheless a Los Angeles court ruled in 1997 that Khan was Tyrian’s father. Tyrian’s mother died on May 13, 2004 at the age of 43 due to complications from childbirth. In her will dated February 27, 2004, Jemima Khan was appointed as guardian of her daughter, Tyrian Jade Khan-White.
Tyrian was raised in California primarily by her material parents and later by Jemima. She did not appear to have received the love from her father that she deserved, unlike her two handsome step brothers. In her early years, she led a relatively private life and avoided the spotlight. Tyrian was able to create a successful life for herself despite the controversy surrounding her birth and the paternity dispute between her parents. She attended the American University in Washington, D.C., and went on to work in digital marketing. Due to his political disposition, Khan did not maintain visible contact with her, as evidenced by the fact that there is only one photograph of both of them online, taken when she was likely under the age of ten.
Tyrian White is currently moderately active on social media and maintains a twitter account (@Tyriankwhite) and a facebook account (Tyriankwhite). In her Twitter profile photo, she can be seen standing between her two handsome step brothers with pride and happiness. According to some sources, despite the fact that her Twitter location indicates she is in New York, she has been living in London with her stepmother and step brothers who appear to be enjoying living together. They also occasionally post pictures of themselves smiling and happy on social media. Jemima, despite being divorced, exhibited exceptional character; she stood by her ex-husband whenever he was in need and took great care for his sons and alleged stepdaughter.
Khan, surprisingly, never denied his colourful bachelor lifestyle. When an Indian host confronted him about being in relationships with a number of high-profile women, he responded with a smile, “You have missed naming many others.”
The British newspaper, “The Times” referred to his numerous girlfriends as “mysterious blondes” because of his reputation as an ascetic bachelor and playboy who frequented London’s nightclubs. Zeenat Aman, Sarah Crawley, Stephanie Beacham, Goldie Hawn, Kristiane Backer, Susannah Constantine, Marie Helvin, Caroline Kellett,Liza Campbell, Anastasia Cooke, Hannah Mary Rothschild, and Lulu Black were among them.
Emma Sergeant, an artist and the daughter of British investor Sir Patrick Sergeant, was his first girlfriend from 1982 until they broke up in 1986. She was also a frequent visitor to Pakistan. Afterwards, he had a brief relationship with the artist Susie Murray-Philipson, who painted several artistic portraits of Khan during their time together.
It remains a mystery when and how he became a devout and practising Muslim, an accomplished philanthropist, an educator, a reformer, a politician, and an environmentalist. His interest in Islam reportedly began in the early 1980s, when he met his religious mentor, who taught him the significance of prayer, charity, and other aspects of the faith. Khan’s faith grew stronger over time, and he began to devote more time and effort to promoting Islamic values and principles. In recent years, Khan has become even more outspoken about his faith, making a number of high-profile statements regarding the significance of Islam in his life. He has also taken steps to promote Islamic values in Pakistan, including launching a campaign to encourage more charitable giving and assistance for the poor and needy.
On the basis of his repentance and service to Islam and the needy people of Pakistan, the question is whether he is exonerated of his past deeds. When a person repents for his past sins, he can receive forgiveness and attain spiritual redemption in many religions and spiritual traditions. In Islam, such a person can receive His forgiveness and mercy, as well as a renewed commitment to living a righteous life and a sense of inner peace. When a Christian confesses his sins and asks for forgiveness from God, he receives salvation, eternal life, a renewed sense of purpose, and a commitment. In many other spiritual traditions, the act of repentance and turning towards a higher power or divine source is regarded as a crucial step towards spiritual growth and enlightenment, as well as a state of spiritual purity and grace.
The Quran states, “Except for those who repent, believe, and perform good deeds.” Allah will replace their evil deeds with good ones for them. Quran 25:70. Ataa’ ibn Abu Rabaah stated that Allah, The Exalted, replaces a person’s bad behaviour with a good one. Al-Hasan Al-Basri stated, “Allah, The Exalted, replaced their evil deeds with good ones, their polytheism with worshipping Allah alone, their immorality with chastity, and their unbelief with faith” (in Islam). According to Abu Al-‘Aaliyah, Qataadah, and others, sincere repentance transforms past sins into good deeds. It adds, “Indeed, we are Allah’s, and to Him we shall return,” and asks for forgiveness. In this sense, such sins are transformed into acts of obedience.
Mr. Imran Khan, whose courage and candour are his most notable characteristics, admitted his past lifestyle and conceded that he had never been a saint, but that he had renounced his past life and devoted his life to the cause of Islam and to achieving honour and dignity for Pakistan and its people.
As unforgiving as our nation is, we will continue to confront him about his past, regardless of his current conduct as a practising Muslim leading a pious life and fighting around the world against “Islamophobia, courageously advocating against the desecration of the Holy Quran and the publication of blasphemous cartoons of the Holy Prophet (PBUH) on all national, regional, and international forums, and finally persuading the United Nations declare 15th March as International day to combat Islamophobia in 140 countries around the world. He advocated and exerted pressure on other countries of the world to pass laws prohibiting their citizens from insulting Hazarat Mohammad (PBUH), as such insults hurt the feelings of more than one billion Muslims worldwide, and the right to freedom of speech comes with responsibility and sensitivity for the feelings, aspirations, and sentiments of other people.
His contributions in the realm of philanthropy are equally remarkable. During the 1990s, he served as the Special Representative for Sports for UNICEF and promoted health and immunization programmes in Bangladesh, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, and Thailand. Khan was appointed tourism ambassador in the caretaker government of Moeen Qureshi in 1993. During his time in London, he worked for the cricket charity Lord’s Taverners. He constructed the first and only cancer hospital in Pakistan at a staggering cost of over $25 million. He founded Namal College in the Mianwali District, which is affiliated with the University of Bradford. The Imran Khan Foundation, which assists needy people throughout Pakistan, accepted the challenge of lighting up villages in Dera Ghazi Khan, Mianwali, and Dera Ismail Khan as part of the project ‘Lighting a Million Lives’ by establishing solar charging stations in the selected off-grid villages and providing villagers with solar lanterns that can be regularly recharged. Among the few projects he has led in his personal capacity are the construction of a cutting-edge cancer hospital in Peshawar and Karachi.
I conducted an internet search to compare his accomplishments in promoting and protecting Islamic values and philanthropic contributions, but no other politician, religious scholar, or leader of our nation could even come close to matching his characteristics and accomplishments.
Currently, the Islamabad High Court is hearing a petition filed by a likely front man for both the incumbent government and the establishment, requesting that Khan be disqualified for concealing his alleged daughter Tyrian White on his nomination forms for the 2018 general election. In the petition two questions were posed. The first is that he is the father of Tyrian, a fact he concealed on his nomination form for the 2018 election, and the second is that he did not disclose his daughter Tyrian’s assets and liabilities.
First is completely unwarranted, as he was only required to declare the assets and liabilities of his legitimate children, who were registered as such in the NADRA data. Moreover, only residents of Pakistan are subject to Pakistan’s tax laws. According to the Income Tax Act, a person is considered a resident of Pakistan for income tax purposes if they are physically present in Pakistan for 183 days or more during the tax year (1 July to 30 June), regardless of their nationality. The relevant provision states, According to section 116 of the Internal Revenue Code, a non-resident is not required to file a statement of wealth.
Both sons and the alleged daughter of Imran Khan and his ex-wife are non-Pakistani residents and are not even Pakistani citizens. Since Tyrian is an American citizen and Jemima and her two sons are British citizens, none of them are subject to Pakistani law. The California court rendered a decision ex parte without conducting a DNA test or hearing Khan’s argument. Moreover, a U.S. court has no jurisdiction over a citizen of Pakistan, and the question of Tyrian’s paternity has never been litigated in any court of law in Pakistan, nor has a decision been rendered. Therefore, by any stretch of the imagination, Tyrian is not Khan’s daughter for practical purposes, and he was not required to declare her or her assets and liabilities on Form B of the nomination forms. Above all both Jemina and Tyrian are the heirs of unimaginable wealth sufficient to buy more than half of Pakistan at the prevailing market price. The petitioner and the court perhaps knew this also that the entire wealth of Khan is in Pakistan and if he needed more, he just had to ask either Jemima or Tyrian and he would get whatever he wanted.
Upon perusing the website of the election commission and closely examining Form “B,” it was crystal clear that the candidate was required to disclose the assets and liabilities of his dependent children. The exact wording is “I hereby declare that I, my spouse(s), and dependent children do not own any immovable or movable property, including bonus shares, securities, insurance, policies, or jewelry, other than those listed below. In 1992, Ms. Tyrian was born. In 2018, she was 26 years old when the elections were held. Likewise, the two sons were born in 1996 and 1999, so they were all adults and responsible for their own financial and economic matters.
The malfeasance of the petition is understandable, as filing such a futile appeal was akin to firing a legal weapon to malign Khan’s character and portray him as a person with lax moral values and moral turpitude. However, it is difficult to comprehend why the court has admitted this obviously futile appeal. This legal weapon is employed by the government in connivance with the establishment in alongwith brute administration power, igniting religious sentiments, constructing a vile political narrative and banning Khan’s speeches from mainstream media.
Over 76 FIRs were filed against Khan on frivolous and unfounded grounds in an effort to wear him down and break his will and determination against the government. Our interior minister said in a media interview that the punishment for fathering an illegitimate child is death by stoning and nothing less, ignoring the verdict of his leader, Ms. Maryam, who stated, when asked to comment on the video of former Governor Sindh Zubair’s sexual engagement, that it is Zubair’s private affair and between him and Allah. During her public addresses and media interactions, Ms. Maryam, who has conveniently distanced herself from the failures and incompetence of the government, spews venom and accuses Khan of fathering an illegal and immoral child. Currently, another weapon has been added to the arsenal by using the shoulder of PEMRA, which had banned the media from broadcasting Khan’s addresses to the public, while ignoring the public’s demonstrated propensity to abandon traditional media in favour of social media, thereby closing their ears and eyes to the government’s narrative as well, which is even more dangerous for the government. Intriguingly, while the government is increasing the power and lethality of its arsenal, Imran Khan’s popularity is increasing in the same proportion. The government and its allied political parties are losing the necessary political capital to win elections, and at the same time they are reinforcing the public’s perception of their incompetence and inability to manage financial, economic, and administrative issues confronting the people with each passing day. Whereas the government is using every weapon at its disposal to defame and discredit Khan, they are unable to make even the slightest dent in his popularity. Rather, every additional weapon used bolsters his perception as a fighter, validates his commitment and resolve to stand against all odds without fear or rising tides, and validates his grit and determination to stand for the cause of the people and the country. According to him, all that humans can do is exert effort, and Allah the Almighty will always determine their success.
Perhaps the government and its allies should reconsider their strategy; they should pause and reset the political clock. Otherwise, they will quickly realise that the length of the delay in holding free, fair, and transparent elections will increase Khan’s political capital proportionally and decrease their own. Therefore, it is in the government’s best interest to expeditiously pave the way for free and fair elections in order to preserve any remaining political capital.