Pakistans Imran Khan marries for third time
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Pakistans Imran Khan marries for third time

Pakistani cricket legend turned politician Imran Khan has tied the knot for a third time, marrying a woman described as a 'faith healer.'

Khan, 65, wed Bushra Wattoo – a divorcee his friends say he sought out in the past for spiritual healing - in a private ceremony in Lahore on Sunday, his party announced.

The nuptials ended months of rumours that Khan was considering a third marriage, after being divorced twice – first from socialite Jemima Goldsmith and then from TV presenter Reham Khan.

It comes as Khan's Pakistan Taherik-e-Insaf (PTI) party said they planned to contest a general election to be held in July this year.

Defeated in the 2013 elections, Khan has spoken of his aspirations of becoming Pakistan's next prime minister following this year's parliamentary elections.

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Ceremony: Imran Khan, centre, poses for a photograph with his new wife Bushra Wattoo, second from right, along with relatives during a wedding ceremony in Lahore

Ceremony: Imran Khan, centre, poses for a photograph with his new wife Bushra Wattoo, second from right, along with relatives during a wedding ceremony in Lahore

Conservative: Khan is seen wearing a dark blazer over a traditional white shalwar kameez, while his bride is clad head-to-feet in a grey robe with a red veil covering her face

Conservative: Khan is seen wearing a dark blazer over a traditional white shalwar kameez, while his bride is clad head-to-feet in a grey robe with a red veil covering her face

In a recent interview, he told AFP he believes this is PTI's 'biggest chance' seizing power.

And his new bride comes from a deeply conservative and politically influential family from the eastern Punjab province.

PTI spokesman Fawad Chaudhry told AFP the couple had known one another 'for a long time' but declined to provide further details.

Khan has previously referred to Watto, a mother-of-five in her 40s, as his 'spiritual adviser' and someone whose guidance he valued.

Khan's previous weddings, particularly when he wed British socialite Jemima Khan, captivated international tabloids as well as local media in the deeply conservative Muslim nation of 208 million people.

His new bride kept her face covered

Wife number three: Ms Wattoo, who kept her face covered during the ceremony, is reportedly a mother-of-five in her 40s

Ceremony: A photo published on Twitter by Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) sees Khan and his new bride during their marriage ceremony in Lahore on Sunday

Ceremony: A photo published on Twitter by Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) sees Khan and his new bride during their marriage ceremony in Lahore on Sunday

Message: Khan took to Twitter on Monday to thank his supporters for their good wishes on his marriage

Message: Khan took to Twitter on Monday to thank his supporters for their good wishes on his marriage

In contrast, Sunday's nikah was a low-key and conservative affair.

PTI released pictures of a smiling Khan, sitting beside his wife and her relatives.

Khan is seen wearing a dark blazer over a traditional white shalwar kameez, while his bride is clad head-to-feet in a grey robe with a red veil covering her face.

'Many congratulations @ImranKhanPTI,' tweeted Shah Mahmood Qureshi, the deputy chairman of Khan's opposition Pakistan Tehreek-e- Insaf (PTI) party.

May Allah bless your future life with lots of happiness,' he added.

On Monday, Khan took to Twitter to thank his supporters for their good wishes.

Second wedding: Imran and second wife, TV presenter and BBC weather-girl Reham Khan, pose on their wedding day in January, 2015

Second wedding: Imran and second wife, TV presenter and BBC weather-girl Reham Khan, pose on their wedding day in January, 2015

Short-lived: Khan's second marriage ended after nine months in 2015, following a whirlwind romance with former BBC journalist Reham Khan

Short-lived: Khan's second marriage ended after nine months in 2015, following a whirlwind romance with former BBC journalist Reham Khan

Glamour: Khan married British socialite Jemima Khan, nee Goldsmith, in 1995

Glamour: Khan married British socialite Jemima Khan, nee Goldsmith, in 1995

'I want to thank everyone for their prayers and good wishes on my marriage,' he wrote.

Khan is beloved by millions across Pakistan after winning the cricket-obsessed country its only World Cup in 1992.

But he has sought to shed the playboy reputation of his younger years and has built a large political following in the northern parts of Pakistan, especially with the conservative Pashtun population.

Over the past year he has also seen his political stock rise following the ouster of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif through judicial proceedings that Khan had championed.

Pakistan's Supreme Court disqualified Mr Sharif from office last year for concealing financial assets.

WIFE NUMBER ONE: JEMIMA GOLDSMITH

Jemima Goldsmith, who has now returned to her maiden name, is the eldest child of Lady Annabel Goldsmith and Sir James Goldsmith.

Jemima was just 21 years old when she met the 42-year-old Imran Khan, and the couple married in 1995 - first in an Islamic ceremony in Paris and then in a civil ceremony in Richmond, London.

Having converted to Islam, she followed her new husband to Lahore, Pakistan where she learned to speak Urdu.

First wife: Jemima Goldsmith, who returned to her maiden name in 2014, met Imran Khan when she was just 21 years old - more than 20 years younger than him

The couple have two sons, Sulaiman Isa, born in 1996, and Qasim, born in 1999.

During their marriage, she established herself as a philanthropist and social campaigner, fighting for the rights of refugees, freedom of information and various political causes. 

She also began working as a journalist from Pakistan, writing for various British newspapers, and set up a fashion label where the profits were donated to the Shaukat Khanum Memorial Cancer Hospital, named after her mother-in-law.

Family: Jemima Goldsmith is pictured in 2016 with Qasim, her youngest son by Imran 

Family: Jemima Goldsmith is pictured in 2016 with Qasim, her youngest son by Imran 

During their marriage she was subjected to abuse by Imran Khan's political opponents or those who disagreed with his involvement in politics.

After nine years of marriage, in 2004, the couple announced that they would divorce, citing Jemima's difficulties to settle in Pakistan.

Speaking in 2011, Khan said he had realised his ex-wife may have been too young and inexperienced to cope with the challenges of his political career.  

WIFE NUMBER TWO: REHAM KHAN

British-Pakistani Reham Khan was born in Ajdabiya, Libya in 1973.

After studies in Pakistan, she began working as a  broadcast journalist in the UK in the mid-noughties, including as a weather presenter for BBC South Today.

After moving to Pakistan in 2012, she met Imran Khan when she interviewed him for a local TV show.

Wife number two: Former BBC weather presenter Reham Khan was married to Imran for just ten months in 2015

Wife number two: Former BBC weather presenter Reham Khan was married to Imran for just ten months in 2015

The following year, in 2013, she began presenting a news programme called NewsOne, and continued to work in TV journalism.

Her relationship with Imran Khan remained secret until the end of 2014 when Jemima Goldsmith announced she was going to return to her maiden name because Imran was going to remarry.

They couple married in January 2015 in a ceremony at his Islamabad home, but divorced ten months later.

After the divorce, Reham revealed that she - like Jemima - had been subjected to a hate campaign in Pakistan and that their marriage had not survived it.

The journalist wrote in the Guardian that she had faced 'a barrage of abuse' for marrying a man 'idolised' in his homeland by millions.

Reham Khan, who has kept her married name, writes on her website that her attention is now focused on 'social work and humanitarian efforts in Pakistan'.

Khan has cultivated an image of pious devotion in the run up to the general elections but his political rivals and media have often mocked his colourful personal life.

Last month, Khan responded to feverish media speculation about his marriage proposal by lashing out against political opponents and urging others to be respectful to Watto's 'very conservative' family.

'All I ask of my well-wishers and supporters is that they pray I find personal happiness which, except for a few years, I have been deprived of,' Khan tweeted on January 9.

WIFE NUMBER THREE: BUSHRA WATTOO

Little is known about Bushra Wattoo, a mother-of-five who divorced her first husband last year.

She is said to be Imran Khan's 'spiritual healer' and the pair reportedly met two years ago during an election campaign.

Wattoo, who is also known as 'Pinki', comes from a deeply conservative family from eastern Punjab.

Before their relationship, Khan had sought her out for spiritual healing.

Earlier this year, local media reported that Khan caused the divorce between Wattoo and her ex-husband Khawar Fareed Maneka, something which Mr Maneka later denied.

Khan's first marriage to the daughter of the financier James Goldsmith, ended in 2004.

The couple wed in 1995 and have two sons.

The split was attributed to the difficulties she faced in Pakistan, where she was hounded for her family's Jewish ancestry, and to his obsession with politics.

Khan's second marriage ended after nine months in 2015, following a whirlwind romance with former BBC journalist Reham Khan.

She had been widely criticised after appearing at public meetings of PTI, with opponents accusing her of seeking to boost her own profile through her husband's fame.

Khan, born in Lahore into a comfortable family with origins in the Pashtun northwest, was educated at Pakistan's prestigious Aitchison College, at boarding school in England and then at Oxford University.

He became one of the world's greatest ever all-rounders - a fearsome fast bowler and dangerous batsman - whose finest hour came at the 1992 World Cup, where at the age of 39 he led an inexperienced team to the title.

First divorce: The couple divorced after nine years of marriage and two children

First divorce: The couple divorced after nine years of marriage and two children