Islamabad: Pakistan’s prime minister-in-waiting Imran Khan has a special love for dogs and his pets are occasionally seen making an entry in the drawing room during interviews by journalists. Now Khan’s election win has made his pets so famous that they now have an official Wikipedia page titled ‘Pets of Imran Khan’. The Wikipedia page was added on August 6, days after Khan’s party Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) secured majority in general elections held on July 25.
Imran Khan has owned five dogs namely Sheru (lion), Motu (fat), Sherni (lioness), Pidu and Maximus, according to Wikipedia. The page says that a typical day in Khan’s routine begins with breakfast, “walking the dogs and gathering his thoughts”, followed by morning exercise.
Saqib Qayyum, Wikipedia’s Pakistan editor, told Gulf News that “There had been a lot of buzz lately about Imran Khan’s dogs but people do not know much about them” so the page was created based on the plentiful references in newspapers and social media.
Although some Pakistanis have criticised the page, terming it “unnecessary” but Wikipedia justifies the attention to the pets by comparing it to the pages of the “US presidential pets” as well as “Pets of Vladimir Putin”.
Wikipedia articles cover notable topics, which receive significant coverage in reliable secondary sources (independent) such as newspapers, and then the topic/subject is considered noteworthy to have its individual entry on Wikipedia, Saqib explained. The page received 9,000 unique views on the first day. However, it lacks basic information about the dogs such as their birth dates or biological details.
Imran Khan’s famous dogs have often made headlines. Recently there was a report of a spat between Imran Khan and his wife Bushra Maneka over the dogs but it was denied. One of his dogs recently grabbed media attention when it was seen in the background during Imran Khan’s meeting with the Iranian Ambassador to Pakistan at Khan’s residence in Bani Gala on the outskirts of Islamabad.
According to Wikipedia information, Sheru, an Alsatian, was gifted to Imran Khan by former president Pervez Musharraf in 2011. The dog that Khan used to call ‘Tiger’ died in 2014. Motu is an offspring of Sheru and Sherni, a Kutchi dog. Maximus, a Belgian shepherd, was taken to the UK by his second wife, Reham Khan, after they divorced.
Khan’s dogs have also been covered in detail in the 2018 autobiography of Reham Khan who wrote that Imran Khan was fond of “handsome dogs”. The Indian writer Frank Huzur wrote in his book “Imran Versus Imran: The Untold Story” that Imran Khan has always loved being in the company of furry friends since childhood.
Wikipedia Editor gets hate emails
The news of the Wikipedia page on Khan’s pets spread swiftly and made headlines in Pakistani media. However, it also filled up Wikipedia editor’s inbox with a number of hate emails.
Talking to Gulf News, Saqib Qayyum, said: “The supporters of opposition party PML-N thought I was paid by PTI to create this page to showcase a soft image of Khan.”
Surprisingly, Qayyum was also criticised by fans of Imran Khan who took him as a PML-N troll since he also highlighted some unpleasant incidents on the Wikipedia page such as the argument between Khan and his wives because of dogs.
PPP supporters argued that a page on Imran Khan’s pet dogs was unnecessary and “offending” at a time when Wikipedia has removed the pages of, Asifa and Bakhtawar, daughters of Benazir Bhutto and Asif Ali Zardari, on account of violating Wikimedia policies.
The politics in Pakistan is always marred by controversies and media is never short of sensational and exciting news and events even if it is about pet animals such as Imran Khan’s dogs or Asif Ali Zardari’s horses.