There have been some integral news reports around the world, however, none have been debated as breathlessly and excitedly as reports of Imran Khan’s rumoured marriage to his spiritual advisor. It is proof of the long held criticism of the public- that news of a mistress or marriage inevitably makes for a more interesting read than an analytical take on money or political matters.
However, such unprofessionalism should not be expected from experienced politicians and media outlets. Some of the responses from politicians and journalists have been contrary to the high standard expected of them- Jamiat Ulema-i-Islam-Fazl Senator Hamdullah made a snide remark about Imran Khan’s previous divorces and being good at hiding his marriages. Similarly, media has been rife with exploring the reported wife’s past-proving that Pakistani media just does not know how to talk about women. Perhaps the best response was from Bilawal Bhutto-who acknowledged that it was a matter of personal life, and offered congratulations if the report was true.
The overwhelming interest and unprofessional spicy reporting on what is a personal decision of a politician reflects the detachment of the public from the real issues that affect them. The media’s job is to inform people of the facts of the public sphere, so they can make educated choices on their elected leaders, which will impact policy. The marriage of a politician is an entirely personal affair-and despite being a public persona, the personal life of a Party leader should not be brought into debates.
All set aside, PTI officials need to realize that speculation and reporting is to be expected and is not necessarily an attack which requires a venomous response. Perhaps they should check the facts, which will inevitable come to light eventually, before jumping to attack, as the recent PTI official’s statement confirming a proposal shows.