Who is Bushra Maneka?
Bushra Maneka is the wife of former cricketer and the 22nd Prime Minister of Pakistan, Imran Khan. Also known as Bushra Bibi, she hails from an influential Wattoo family in the Pakpattan district of Punjab in Pakistan. She is a renowned Sufi scholar, faith healer and spiritual mentor. Famous as Pinki Pir or Pinki Bibi at Pakpattan’s Ziarat e Dargah Hazrat Baba Farid Ganj Shakar, Bushra Bibi helped Imran Khan on spiritual matters, before their marriage. Impressed by the spiritual level of the lady, Imran Khan married her following her divorce from her first husband, Khawar Maneka. She has five children through her first marriage.
Early Life & First Marriage
Bushra Maneka was born Bushra Riaz Wattoo on August 16, 1968, in Dipalpur, Okara District in Punjab, Pakistan, into a conservative and politically influential family of the Wattoo clan. She originally hails from the town of Pakpattan, the seat of Pakistan's Chisti order of Sufism famous for the Shrine of Baba Farid, a renowned Punjabi poet and Sufi saint. Bushra Bibi is a spiritual follower of the Sufi saint.
In 1987, she got married to Khawar Maneka, the son of Pakistani politician Ghulam Muhammad Maneka, who was a Member of the National Assembly of Pakistan and also served as a federal minister in the cabinet of Benazir Bhutto. Khawar served as a senior official in the customs department of Pakistan. His brother Ahmad Raza Maneka is also a Pakistani politician and a member of the National Assembly of Pakistan.
Bushra Bibi has three daughters and two sons with Khawar. Her eldest daughter, Mehru Maneka, is married to the son of Pakistani politician Mian Atta Muhammad Manika who served the Provincial Assembly of the Punjab. Two of her three daughters are married. In 2013, her two sons, Ebrahim and Musa, graduated from the Aitchison College, Lahore. Thereafter, they went abroad to pursue higher education.
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Marriage with Imran Khan
According to sources, Bushra Bibi and Imran Khan met for the first time in 2015 in Pakpattan. The leading English-language newspaper of Pakistan, ‘Dawn,’ mentioned that Imran became a frequent visitor to Baba Farid's shrine in Pakpattan after he gradually got inclined towards Sufism. At that time Bushra Bibi was a noted and revered Sufi scholar, spiritual mentor, and a faith healer regarded as a leader of pilgrimages to Baba Farid's shrine. The influential Maneka family played host to Imran who visited Pakpattan during the evening hours to pay homage to the Sufi saint. Imran would stay at Manekas' residence for a few hours before returning to Islamabad.
Imran once mentioned that he was introduced to Bushra Bibi through her sister and PTI member Maryam Riaz Wattoo. Sources mention that just before the 2015 by-election in Lodhran Imran interacted with Bushra Bibi and was quite pleased when his candidate Jehangir Tareen emerged a winner in the election, which was correctly predicted by her. Thereafter, he would often visit her for consultation and guidance. Reportedly, whenever Imran faced "difficult situation,” he would consult Bushra Bibi. She would counsel and advice him, and recommend books to read. With time she became his spiritual mentor (murshid). Imran was highly impressed by the spiritual attainments of the lady and that gradually drew him towards her.
Meanwhile, differences between Bushra Bibi and her first husband had begun to grow and the couple ultimately ended their marriage in 2017. Many people close to Bushra blame Imran for the divorce, as they believe that the conflict between the couple was not that severe to end their 30 years of marriage.
Reports of Imran marrying Bushra had started circulating during mid-2016 to early 2018, but Imran, along with the members of the Maneka family, vehemently condemned such reports . His party, PTI, also filed a complaint against news channels that broadcast such news. In a turn of events, The PTI central secretariat on January 7, 2018 issued a statement, which said that Imran Khan had proposed to Bushra, but she had not accepted the proposal till that time. It was later confirmed by the PTI on February 18, 2018, that Imran had married Bushra Bibi. After a few months of their marriage, they went on a pilgrimage to Mecca.
Known to be an introvert, Bushra Bibi likes to stay away from social functions and gatherings, public glare, and politics, and Imran respects and supports her for her choices. She leads a private life in Imran’s sprawling farmhouse at Bani Gala. Her daughter Mehru Maneka reportedly joined the PTI on August 6, 2018, after a meeting with Imran.