Oh, Imran what have you done now?

It is about time that Khan put Pakistan first. And this means perhaps relying on his Oxford education and his self-professed strong Muslim faith

Imran Khan once admitted that artist Emma Sergeant was his one true love. This was, of course, before he met Jemima Goldsmith, his first wife and the mother of his two sons. Thus we are to believe that all the 67-year-old former cricketer, who has been eyeing the premiership for many years, needs is love.

And he is said to have found it in Bushra Manika, a lady from whom he has been seeking spiritual guidance for the last two or three years. The lady in question is a divorced mother of five and, according to some reports, a grandmother of one. She had spent most of the last 30 years happily married to her now ex-husband, Khawar Fareed Manika, who is a Grade 21 officer and customs official. That is, until Imran Khan showed up on the scene.

He has been a man unlucky in love. His first marriage ended after nine years and his second lasted not more than a year. But this was before he met his spiritual mentor. Yet one has to wonder what sort of spiritualism makes one hide the truth. Or to insert oneself into a happy home.

If he is not careful he will turn into a laughing stock; this man who claims to believe in a democratic Pakistan yet does not trust the electorate to vote him in. If he does indeed harbour such fears would it not make more sense to connect with the masses and find out where his mandate might be lacking? But this latest ‘scandal’ only serves to underscore how it is the premiership that matters to him more than the country

It seems that when it comes to Imran Khan — this is a leopard that has not managed to change its spots. Indeed, his concupiscence will likely be the downfall of him; at least politically speaking. For some, it is a process that has already begun. Over the summer, PTI MNA Ayesha Gulalai spoke out about his licentious behaviour towards her.

It is about time that Khan put Pakistan first. And this means perhaps relying on his Oxford education and his self-professed strong Muslim faith, as opposed to peers and peernis. For the latter will never take him all the way to the top the office of Prime Minister.

If he is not careful he will turn into a laughing stock; this man who claims to believe in a democratic Pakistan yet does not trust the electorate to vote him in. If he does indeed harbour such fears would it not make more sense to connect with the masses and find out where his mandate might be lacking? But this latest ‘scandal’ only serves to underscore how it is the premiership that matters to him more than the country.

It may even be said that Khan has exploited religion for hoped for political gain, much like the mullahs. For he now wants to secure the barelvi vote, which enjoys a sizeable presence in Punjab. Yet he must also realise that one who is so dependent upon spiritual advisers is one who is not fit to lead a troubled country like Pakistan. For that, pragmatism is required. This is especially true given that the country is currently passing through a critical geo-strategic period in terms of the bilateral relationship with the US and what is unreasonably expected of us in Afghanistan.

An additional priority for the nation is how to best counter the US-India nexus that seeks to clip Pakistan’s regional wing to the point where we will not rise again. Can anyone imagine China’s Xi Jinping going down this path of false spirituality to steer his country to further greatness? Or is Imran Khan going to be seeking the advice of the lady to whom he has now confirmed to having sent a proposal on matters pertaining to national security, the economy or foreign policy?

If nothing else, Bushra Manika should have warned him that each time he arrives a little closer to his dream of leading this country — he messes it up himself.

The writer is author of several books, a columnist and political analyst based in Islamabad.  He can be reached at naveedamankhan@hotmail.com

Published in Daily Times, January 14th 2018.