LONDON: PML-N supporters on Sunday staged a protest in London outside the residence of Jemima Goldsmith, the ex-wife of former prime minister and PTI Chairman Imran Khan.
Footage shared on social media showed a throng of PML-N supporters waving flags, holding banners and placards, and chanting slogans in favour of their party supremo Nawaz Sharif and against Khan.
Police contingents deployed outside Jemima’s home were also seen in the footage. Separately, PTI supporters also took out demonstrations at London’s Hyde Park. Footage shared by the PTI also showed a protest outside Nawaz’s Avenfield residence.
PML-N leader Abid Sher Ali had on Thursday first announced that a protest would be held outside Jemima’s London home. He had also shared an image bearing her full address and used derogatory language against Khan.
“Protests outside my house, targeting my children, anti-Semitic abuse on social media … It’s almost like I’m back in 90s Lahore,” Jemima had said in response to Ali.
Ali had responded to Jemima, holding her former husband responsible for the protest. “He (Imran) has ordered attacks and protests outside [the] homes of his political opponents. He incites hate, homophobia and terrorism on [a] daily basis,” he had said.
According to a Dawn report, supporters of the PML-N and the PTI had faced off outside Nawaz’s London residence last Sunday, as one group had celebrated and the other had protested Khan’s ouster after a successful no-confidence vote. A heavy police contingent had stood in a chain between the two groups as they had chanted slogans against each other’s leaders.
The morning had started with a few PML-N supporters gathering outside Nawaz’s Avenfield House residence to celebrate. A stone’s throw away in the green expanses of Hyde Park, hundreds of PTI supporters demonstrated against Khan’s ouster.
Khan’s UK spokesperson Sahibzada Jahangir had in a video message called on the party’s supporters to gather at the park and then march to the US embassy to register their protest against alleged “foreign interference by America in Pakistan”.
A message circulating in PTI WhatsApp groups had said the purpose of the demonstration was to raise their voice against “regime change” and the Supreme Court’s decision; and to demand free and fair elections through electronic voting as well as the right of overseas Pakistanis to vote.
At the PTI protest, both speakers and members of the crowd had condemned the alleged US role in Khan’s removal, with many saying they believed the letter and conspiracy the PTI chairman spoke of was a reality. Several of Khan’s supporters were also critical of the military establishment and blamed it for his exit.
Although the plan for the PTI crowd was to march to the US embassy at 2pm, hundreds of people had instead turned towards Park Lane and decided to take their protest to Avenfield House. Police had raced ahead of the PTI demonstrators to create a divide between PML-N workers who were already outside Nawaz’s residence.
Jemima Khan becomes target
According to a report, PTI chairman Imran Khan’s former wife Jemima Goldsmith has also come under the wrath of escalating tension in the political arena of the country.
The 48-year-old recently took to her Twitter handle and expressed her concerns regarding the ongoing protests outside her London residence.
The supporters of her former husband’s political rivals have started targeting Jemima and Imran’s children with anti-Semitic slurs. Goldsmith says that the protest makes her feel like she is in Lahore in the 90s.
“Protest outside my house, targeting my children, anti-Semitic abuse on social media… It’s almost like I’m back in the 90s Lahore,” she tweeted with #PuranaPakistan.
The protest is being planned by supporters of Nawaz Sharif, the former prime minister who has been living in London since 2020. The April 17 protest appears to be a tit-for-tat to frequent protests outside Sharif’s London residence by PTI supporters.
Moreover, the former PM’s ex-wife has clarified that she has nothing to do with Pakistan’s politics, her ex-husband Imran Khan or his party PTI.
Earlier, the daughter of billionaire James Goldsmith converted to Islam for her marriage to Khan but “was constantly attacked as an insincere Muslim, part because of her Jewish grandfather,”.
Khan was married to Jemima from 1995 to 2004 and together they have two children, Qasim and Sulaiman. Later, she moved to London after her divorce where she has been living with her sons