Reham on Lodhran by-poll: ‘PTI losing popularity even before coming to power’


LAHORE: Reham Khan, the former wife of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Chairman Imran Khan, said on Tuesday that PTI faced a heavy defeat in the recent Lodhran by-poll, and it is the first time a party is losing popularity even before coming to power.

Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz’s (PML-N) candidate Iqbal Shah received 113,542 votes, while his competitor, PTI’s Ali Tareen, contesting his first election on his father, Jahangir Tareen’s seat, got 85,933 votes in the by-poll held on Monday.

Reham, in a video message, said that she felt sorry for the party workers and its ideological supporters.

“Whenever they are under pressure they start attacking people like me,” she said, “they consider Nawaz Sharif or Maryam Nawaz behind conspiracies against them. Was selection of Ali Jahanghir Tareen a conspiracy by Nawaz or God forbid, a suggestion by me?”

She said that the voters have rejected PTI as the party has deviated from its vision.

“You (PTI) have given space to dynastic politics. You have taken all the garbage from the other parties in yours. PTI was attacking status-quo but today it has become its cheap copy,” the former journalist said.

“It has been proven that you can buy leadership through money but not votes,” Reham said.

On February 6, Khan confirmed that she had left the country, citing threats to her by unknown individuals. Speaking to the media, Reham said that she had received threats through phone calls made to her staff.

Reham also reportedly shared an audio recording, in which the coordinator of Reham Khan Foundation tells her how he received calls from unknown numbers and was threatened to not coordinate Reham’s interviews and events.

She further said that she had to discontinue the schooling of her daughter, due to which she was extremely distressed, adding, “None of the political parties stands by me, nor supports me”.

Reham said that she was fighting a battle that she could no longer fight while staying in Pakistan.

She has yet to explain if there was a specific issue pertaining to which she was given threats, or name any party standing against her. There was also no confirmation if she had filed a complaint with the police in this regard.