New Delhi: Jemima Goldsmith, screenwriter and ex-wife of former Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan Friday hit back at the Pakistan Muslim League (Nawaz) after the party announced it was planning to stage a protest outside her London residence, in light of the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf government’s ouster. She alleged she and her children were being targeted with antisemitic abuse on social media amid calls for the protest.
Last week, Khan was ousted as Pakistan’s prime minister after a no-confidence motion was moved against him by opposition parties. Shehbaz Sharif from the PML(N) has been selected as the new prime minister.
PML(N) leader Abid Sher Ali on Twitter said that a protest would be held outside Goldsmith’s residence and also shared an image bearing her full address. He said, “There will be a protest outside the house of Imran Niazi’s ex-wife in London on Sunday. So that her children also know how mean their father is.” Goldsmith and Khan were married from 1995 to 2004 and have two children.
اتوار کو لندن میں عمران نیازی کی سابقہ اہلیہ کے گھر کے باہر احتجاج ہوگا۔ تا کہ اس کے بچوں کو بھی پتا چلے ان کا باپ کتنا کمینہ ہے۔ pic.twitter.com/9GL6QqPOhR
— Abid Sher Ali (@AbidSherAli) April 14, 2022
In response to Ali, Goldsmith referred to the time she spent as the PTI chairman’s wife with her in-laws in Lahore and posted the picture of the planned protest. She tweeted that the call for such a protest makes her feel “almost like I’m back in 90s Lahore” along with the hashtag #PuranaPakistan (Old Pakistan).
Goldsmith was also attacked for her 2017 tweet that said “Gone Nawaz Gone” after Sharif was dismissed from office. She responded by asking, “Does expressing a political opinion in the past mean I should be targeted with racist abuse and have my home address published on social media?”
— Jemima Goldsmith (@Jemima_Khan) April 15, 2022
Protests outside London homes
Ali and other PML(N) members held the former prime minister responsible for the protest. He said, “He (Imran) has ordered attacks and protests outside [the] homes of his political opponents. He incites hate, homophobia and terrorism on [a] daily basis”. The PML-N leader added that the protest would be “peaceful and non-violent”.
Ali’s poster calling for protest outside Goldsmith’s Richmond home was in response to a protest outside former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s residence in Avenfield House, London by PTI members and supporters after the no-confidence motion.
PML-N and PTI supporters face off outside Avenfield House London pic.twitter.com/QdmTcP0gl1
— Atika Rehman (@AtikaRehman) April 10, 2022
Sahibzada Jahangir, the PTI spokesperson, said Imran Khan’s supporters were ready to give the “last drop of their blood” for him. The protest turned violent after water bottles and eggs were thrown between PML(N) and PTI activists.
Goldsmith responded by stating the difference between the protest outside Sharif’s house and hers is that she and her children are not involved with the politics of Pakistan. “I have got nothing to do with Pakistani politics and neither have my children. They are low-key private individuals who are not even on social media.” she tweeted.
Jemima’s brothers speak up
While Goldsmith herself has maintained distance from Pakistan politics, both her brothers – UK Foreign Office Minister Lord Zac Goldsmith and Ben Goldsmith — tweeted in support of Imran Khan. The former lamented Khan’s fall and said “I have no doubt he (Imran Khan) will be returned with a big majority in the upcoming elections”.
Sad to see last night’s events in Pakistan.
Imran Khan is a good and decent man, one of the least corruptible politicians on the world stage.
I have no doubt he will be returned with a big majority in the upcoming elections.
— Zac Goldsmith (@ZacGoldsmith) April 10, 2022
Following which, Prime Minister Johnson’s deputy spokesperson said the UK would not get involved in Pakistan’s domestic affairs, adding: “We respect Pakistan’s political system.”
Ben Goldsmith deleted his tweet after being accused of breaking protocol.