­LAHORE - The news story about prime minister-in-waiting Imran Khan’s pets getting a Wikipedia page published in different newspapers started rumour mills full steam about his personal life.

People were seen gossiping about photo of Imran meeting the Iranian Ambassador while his dog Motu was also present in the room. Social media remained abuzz with comments about his pets.

Some critics are of the view that the debate was being started to present a soft image of Imran Khan, who has been criticised in the western media for supporting talks with Taliban rather than taking action against the militant group. The photo of Imran Khan patting his dog has been compared with Pervez Musharraf’s photos with his dogs.

Musharraf’s photos were published in the western press to show that he was a liberal person. Does Imran need to show off his pets to get the image of a liberal person in the west?

Imran has travelled widely around the world and has lived in UK for 20 years playing county cricket. He was first a student of Cathedral School and then studied at Aitchison College. His affection for pets is not something that just happened after general election 2018.

Imran married a Britisher Jemima and has two children with her. When he moved to Bani Gali he did so with his pet dog Sheru, reportedly gifted to him by President Musharraf. He not only keeps dogs but also has hens, cows and a goat. He eats only organic food and his eggs and milk used in the house are produced at Bani Gala.

Imran’s image as a flamboyant young man has always been widely discussed. His task was to wow the diverse people of Pakistan and at the same time to show that he was a pious Muslim as all the PTI paid content on TV channels showcased.

The recent images also put to rest the reports that Imran’s wife Mrs Bushra was at unease with dogs, as they were creating disturbance during her religious activity. There was some speculation that the dogs are allowed only in the section where Imran meets his visitors.

The similarity between him and President Musharraf may not be just that both loved dogs but also that both wanted to present better image of Pakistan as a tolerant society. There is no harm in keeping pets. After all father of the nation Quaid-e-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah also loved to keep dogs as pets.