Lahore: A Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) pilot is facing the heat for allowing cricketer-turned-politician Imran Khan’s ex-wife Reham to sit in the cockpit for a “few minutes” on her request during a London to Lahore flight, prompting a probe with the airman facing disciplinary action.
Reham Khan made the request to sit in the cockpit for a few minutes while coming to Lahore from London on Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) flight PK-788 yesterday.
“On her request the pilot allowed Reham to sit in the cockpit for ‘few minutes’ which is against the law,” PIA spokesperson Danial Gilani told news agency PTI.
He said “Ms Reham expressed her wish to sit in the cockpit which the pilot could not turn down.”
“Although it appears to be courtesy on the part of the pilot but the PIA cannot ignore the rules. Under the law, unauthorised persons cannot enter the cockpit,” he said.
The PIA management has initiated an inquiry into the matter and will take appropriate disciplinary action against the pilot, Mr Gilani said.
The Pakistani cricket legend-turned-politician and the TV journalist announced their decision to split on October 30 amid reports that Imran objected to her meddling in politics.
62-year-old Imran’s marriage in January to Reham was his second after his first marriage with English heiress Jemima Goldsmith for nine years ended in divorce in June, 2004. It was Ms Reham’s second marriage as well.
Ms Reham, 42, left a job on regional BBC news and moved back to Pakistan in 2013.
Imran Khan and Reham’s relationship was shrouded with controversy from the very start.
Soon after the couple married in January this year, Reham’s ex-husband denied allegations he had mistreated her during their marriage.
Members of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf party, whose chief is Imran Khan, had expressed concern over Reham’s participation in politics after which Imran announced she will neither contest elections on a party ticket nor will attend any party gatherings.
After being away for a month following her widely covered split with Imran, Reham returned to Pakistan yesterday and said she has come back with a resolve to fulfil her responsibilities in the media.
When asked about her intentions to join politics, Ms Reham said, “Before politics, the filth in our society needs to be cleansed. Before you run a political movement, there is a great need for a social movement….”
“What type of people are coming into politics – what kind of youth and how we enable them — and how we fulfil our responsibilities in the media. I’ve come with this resolve,” she was quoted as saying by Dawn News.
Ms Reham said she would live and die in her country. She said she had not received any money from any Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf leader and asked her critics to stop targeting her.
“I am a pathan (Khan) and I can give my life and know how to fight,” she said.