ISLAMABAD - Pakistan Tehrik-e-Insaf chief Imran Khan might have sent his ambitious wife Reham Khan into political hibernation but family sources suggest he has not completely closed the doors for her return.

“You see Imran Khan’s decision to stop Reham Khan from politicking was taken in a state of fury. This cannot be taken as a policy decision. The two (husband and the wife) are in agreement that she will be back,” a source close to the Khan family told The Nation on Sunday.

“You can’t expect someone who fights for others’ rights to give up her own right to participate in politics. Although there is a division in the party on her political role, there are a lot of people in the PTI who want to see her active,” he added.

Earlier this month, Imran Khan had tweeted he was not desirous of Reham Khan’s stepping in to politics and she would not participate in any political ceremony in future.

Khan, angry at the criticism on her wife and defeat at the hands of the Pakistan Muslim League (Nawaz) in Haripur’s NA-19 constituency, reiterated his party will not promote family politics.

Soon after her husband’s decision, Reham Khan tweeted, “Sincere apologies to all the PTI related events I was invited to. I will not be attending any events linked to PTI anymore.”

She added, “(Imran) Khan and I have the same goal to see Pakistan prosper. He pursues it via a political party and I work voluntarily for educating our children.”

But since then things have changed. The dust has settled and the anger has vanished. So why can’t the decision be reviewed? The Khans did exactly that but will wait for an “appropriate time” before the ‘ban’ on Reham Khan is lifted.

“The timing will be decided by the couple but it should not be too far. After all Imran Khan is convinced the party did not lose the Haripur seat due to Reham Khan but it were the local party leadership who could not mobilise the voters in PTI’s favour,” the source elaborated.

Other sources said, since Imran Khan has reconciled with his sisters, Reham Khan’s return may take a little time. “Imran Khan’s sisters have settled differences with their brother but they are still annoyed with Reham Khan . They may forgive her in future but ostensibly not in the near future,” an insider confided.

“Even if there is no other reason (to stop Reham Khan), Imran Khan will not risk provoking his sisters by lifting the restrictions within weeks. The process of her return will be dealt with carefully. As a first step, Imran Khan has allowed her to tweet on political matters,” he disclosed.

When asked for comments, a PTI lawmaker from Peshawar, Sajid Nawaz, said, he personally sees no reason why Reham Khan should not take part in politics.

“Imran Khan has the right to stop her like I also do not take my wife outside (in public), but in my personal opinion everybody has a basic right to participate in politics. Reham Khan is no exception,” he remarked.

“Imran Khan too is not against women participation in politics or other fields of life. He wants them to play role in the progress of the country. We have supported women in the local governments’ election and want to see them come forward,” Nawaz maintained.

The legislator said, if Imran Khan could support women in the conservative Khyber Pakhtunkhaw province, he cannot have another policy for his own family.

“The PTI does not promote family politics but if someone comes on merit, he or she cannot be stopped. Reham Khan can come on merit not as Imran Khan’s wife. She has the potential like all the women of Pakistan,” he contended, adding, “We cannot rule out her return to active politics.”

Nawaz said, his party advocates injecting fresh blood – both men and women - in politics who can contribute positively. “We feel the women should play a more effective role. We have been mobilising them at the villages level. Reham Khan is educated and knows the issues so she can stand out,” he indicated.

Another PTI lawmaker Amjed Ali Khan from Mianwali, the hometown of Imran Khan, said, “This is an issue between Imran Khan and Bhabi (sister-in-law). They have to decide their priorities.”

Khan said, the PTI believes in bringing the women forward but “every woman and every man has to take his or her own decision. This one (Reham Khan’s future) is for them to decide.”

Reham Khan in the meanwhile has been active on Twitter but mostly engaged in advocating justice, rights and welfare projects. She has also teamed up with Imran Raza Kazmi to produce Jaanan, a romantic-comedy about a Pashtun family.

This doesn’t mean that she has stopped supporting her husband. Her tweet on August 27, “Aaa dekhain zarra Kis mein kitna hain dum (Come let’s test each other’s power)? Khan challenges Nawaz (Sharif) in NA-122,” points out she is still the social media voice for her party.