A few years back I had the chance of meeting Reham Khan, when she was still married to the enigma that is Imran Khan. I am pretty sure she doesn’t remember me; I was a young professional struggling my way through my first job out of college. Honestly speaking, we barely interacted. I was there with my boss at a fundraiser that a group of school children had organized at a school in the suburbs of Islamabad. Reham was there as the honorary guest accepting the donation from the children for the IDPs in Bannu who had been displaced by the military operation in North Waziristan. To be fair, it was difficult to gauge her as a person but in the brief moments that I was around her, I did manage to observe a deep sense of resolve that was evident on her face, and a hint of calculated shrewdness in her eyes. I don’t know much about the personal lives of the Khan’s, but in my opinion, it is precisely from this sense of resolve and shrewdness that Reham’s soon to be published book emanates from. I am sure overall the book itself is about Reham Khan’s life experiences- yet the sections that have elicited so much controversy are the ones in which she goes on to explicate the details of the personal lives of Imran Khan, what goes on in Bani Gala behind the curtains and sensational revelations about the personal lives of other prominent Pakistanis, including cricketers and politicians. Allegedly she has also pointed out the corruption that is rife in the Pakistan’s politics, as well as the various kinds of harassment women faced every day. Honestly speaking all of these claims are quite sensational, and no matter what the country, such revelations do constitute a breach of privacy of the individuals named. In this sense, the people whose names have been mentioned are well within their right to take Reham to court. Additionally, even though I don’t have the utter impudence to label Reham as an agent financed by other opposition parties, the timing of the alleged release of the book, right before the General Election in Pakistan, does seem conspicuously odd. It seems Reham wants to strike the heaviest blow to Imran Khan and his supporters when it matters most; right before the nation goes to the polls. Reham means business, and reminds of the resolve and shrewdness I sensed back when we first met. Reham means business, and reminds me today of the resolve and shrewdness I sensed back when I first met her. This is why she is attacking Imran so close to the elections No matter the objective stance one takes on the issue, personally speaking, I would not want my former partner to spread stories about our private lives to everyone across the country. Having said that, Reham’s leaked manuscript has at least brought one very important issue into the limelight. Something that is of fundamental importance and far too often is shoved under the carpet in Pakistan. Sex! The act itself and any mention of it in Pakistani society is taboo, yet it is all around us, it is like that elephant in room that we all are told from the beginning to tuck away in secrecy and conveniently stay quiet about. Growing up, I remember how I was always slow catching onto stuff that my peers had no trouble understanding. I was slow at learning the various playground tricks that every child knows completely, like eating candy and then lying about it later or, most importantly, where babies came from. I believed the tales I had been told in my childhood, and in my naivety I thought that babies came from the sky, implanted by fairies in between their mums and dads, as they slept during the night. You can well imagine the horror I felt when I got to know of the truth later in life. I realize that the fairies part might be an overstretch, but for most of us Pakistanis the only little education about our bodies that we ever get from our parents and older relatives is probably the phrase ‘Barray ho jao’; the three letter phrase that basically means that you are supposed to figure this type of stuff on your own, and then bury the information deep inside in order to conform to society’s ‘pious’ ideals. Despite all its allegedly libelous claims and the questionable timing of its release, Reham’s soon to be released book has managed to point to a very important issue that affects all, yet is always condensed into a mere ‘gandi batien nahi kertay’. For the first time, despite the obvious censorship, extremely private matters have now started to be discussed on TV and in other both physical and virtual places of social interaction in Pakistan. I’m neither a friend nor a foe of Reham Khan, Imran or some other public figure for that matter; my ego is too big and my achievements too little to spend my time taking interest in other people’s private lives. But given the serious societal implication of the topic at hand, I felt compelled to give my opinion. Reham has spoken, and addressed that elephant in the room — who will be the next to break this deafening silence? The writer is a graduate student at Cornell University in the US, and he can be reached at email@example.com Published in Daily Times, June 22nd 2018.