The news that former Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif had wed top city socialite, novelist and social worker Tehmina Durrani, was the talk of the town yesterday.

This is the third marriage for both. Shahbaz has been separated for some years from his second wife, Aaliya. His first wife, Nusrat is in Jeddah with other members of the family.

Tehmina Durrani, who owns an elegant house with a waterfall in the atrium in the city's Gulberg area, was previously married to another politician, Ghulam Mustafa Khar.

Khar is a prominent member of the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) and a former Punjab governor.

Durrani's best-selling book, translated into eight languages, My Feudal Lord‚ gives an account of her often violent marriage to Khar. She has also written a biography of philanthropist Abdul Sattar Edhi.

While it had been rumoured for over eight years that Tehmina and Shahbaz were close friends‚ the news of their wedding has come as a complete surprise. The newly-weds are now in the United States.

Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) leaders confessed to being "quite surprised" by the news.

They also said the wedding explained Shahbaz's somewhat "secretive activities" during his recent trips to the Gulf.

It had been stated the PML-N president was busy meeting leaders and personal friends.

Members of the Sharif family however appeared to be in the dark over developments. In the past, the father of the Sharif brothers, Mian Sharif, had firmly opposed Shahbaz's second marriage to Aaliya, and insisted on a separation.

A politician, in the past linked to the PML-N and now with the ruling PML said: "I can't say the marriage has political significance, but it is very important as far as the social scene in the city is concerned."

Other sources, close to Durrani, said that she had already informed them that Shahbaz would soon make a public comeback to the country, and "even expected him to assume the post of prime minister."