'Pakistanis fortunate to have leader like Imran Khan,' says first lady

First Lady Bushra Imran, in her first interview to a media channel, has said that Pakistanis are fortunate to have a leader like Imran Khan.

The first lady made the remark in a wide-ranging interview conducted by HumTV's Nadeem Malik for his programme Nadeem Malik Live.

"When God wants to change the fate of a nation, He gives them a leader instead of a politician," First Lady Bushra said, adding that the prime minister had the country's best interests at heart.

When asked about how she felt about her transition from spiritual guide (pir) to first lady, Bushra Bibi quipped that: "In my past life, people used to come to me to get close to God and his messenger; now they come to me to get close to Khan sahab."

"It is important to worship and pray, but it is more important to serve humankind," the first lady said. "This is something I've learned from Khan sahab."

She also credited the prime minister for helping her gain a greater appreciation for life. "People say that I have changed him, when the truth is that we have changed each other," she said.

"I taught him that worship brings you closer to God, and he taught me that loving His creation brings us closer to Him."

Speaking of her husband's simple lifestyle, the first lady said that he is not particular about clothes or food.

"He wants nothing," she said.

"He does not get any clothes stitched for himself. When I first married him, I asked one of the housekeepers to take out his summer clothes and was told that he does not have any," she said, narrating an incident from the early days of her marriage.

"The housekeeper told me that he only wears clothes if someone gives them to him. He never gets them stitched," she recalled.

She recalled that, "someone came and gifted him a few stitched sets of shalwar kamiz, which he wore throughout the season."

"I have never seen a simpler person. He is free of any wants or desires," she said.

She also termed her husband a "leader" and "not a politician."

"Quaid-i-Azam was a leader. Khan sahab is a leader, and [in the current era] only [Recep Teyyip] Erdogan is a leader. The rest of these people are just politicians," she said.

Speaking of a shift in PM Khan's temperament post the election, the show's host commented that the firebrand leader seems to have mellowed down in the past few months. To this, the first lady said that this shift can be attributed to his increased religiosity. She mentioned that PM Khan makes it a point to fulfill his religious obligations despite his busy daily routine.

Responding to a question, the first lady rubbished reports published in some sections of the media that she had been divinely inspired to marry Imran Khan.

"I cannot conceive of how or why people choose to circulate such lies," she remarked in exasperation.

Also brushing aside another controversy surrounding her marriage to Imran Khan which was pushed in certain sections of the press, the first lady said she had completed her iddat before she even left her former husband's house.

"I could have married someone the day I left my former husband's home, but I waited some six or seven months before I did so," she said, mentioning that her former husband had been very particular about fulfilling religious obligations.

She also regretted the controversy speculation over the timing of her marriage had stirred, saying it caused her distress.

Speaking of the causes she plans to champion during her time as the first lady, Bushra Imran said that she had been deeply moved when she visited an old people's home in Lahore.

"The pain [I felt] was such that I could not eat or pray for the next few days," she recalled. "Some of the people I met had nothing [...] some asked me for a small stipend, just so that they could spend Rs10 on something on their own. That jolted my soul to the core. I just wanted to leave that place quickly and do something for them."

She spoke in a similar vein about her desire to help orphans and the differently-abled, recalling anecdotes from her visits to various facilities and promising to do something for their welfare as the first lady.

The full interview can be seen here.

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