time Friday Apr 15 2022

Jemima Goldsmith reacts to PML-N’s planned protest outside her home 

Jemima Goldsmith poses on arrival for the premiere of Florence Foster Jenkins in London on April 12, 2016. — AFP/File
Jemima Goldsmith poses on arrival for the premiere of Florence Foster Jenkins in London on April 12, 2016. — AFP/File

  • Jemima expresses anger at PML-N's scheduled protest outside her house.
  • “Protests outside my house, targeting my children, antisemitic abuse on social media…. It’s almost like I’m back in 90s Lahore," she writes.
  • PML-N's Abid Sher Ali calls for a protest outside Jemima's house in retaliation to PTI’s protests outside Nawaz Sharif's house. 

LONDON: Jemima Goldsmith has expressed her anger at the scheduled protest by PML-N UK outside her Richmond home on Sunday.

In a message on Twitter, the former wife of PTI Chairman Imran Khan said on Friday that it looked like she was back in Lahore in the 90s  – a reference to the time when Jemima was married to Imran Khan and lived in Lahore with her in-laws. 

She wrote: “Protests outside my house, targeting my children, antisemitic abuse on social media…. It’s almost like I’m back in 90s Lahore. #PuranaPakistan”.

Jemima quoted a post by former PML-N minister Abid Sher Ali in her tweet. 

Abid shared a poster on his timeline announcing that PML-N supporters will be gathering outside Jemima’s house in retaliation to PTI’s protests outside Avenfield House where Nawaz Sharif, the former premier, is currently staying with his sons Hasan and Hussain Nawaz. 

Over the weekend, a large number of PTI supporters protested outside Avenfield flats to protest the ouster of Imran Khan through the Opposition parties’ no-confidence move. 

The protest was planned outside the US embassy but PTI leaders decided to hold the protests outside Avenfield flats and Pakistan High Commission. Over 50 policemen separated PML-N and PTI activists from clashing with each other but eggs and water bottles were thrown at each other. PTI leaders said they had received instructions directly from former PM Imran Khan and senior PTI leaders to hold protests in London. 

PTI has called for another protest on Saturday in London and PML-N UK has announced to hold a protest in Richmond outside Jemima's house to respond to PTI’s protests. 

Jemima — whose parents were Jewish — made a reference to online anti-Semitic abuses which is rife and campaigners have said that people who are of Jewish heritage often come under attack all over the world from trolls who bring up Jewish ancestry to criticise them. The problem of anti-Semitism, racism, Islamophobia and gender bias are seen as global issues and social media platforms have fuelled such trends. 

Jemima has not made any political statement after the outset of Imran Khan but her brothers Zac Goldsmith, who is a UK government minister, and Ben Goldsmith have expressed support for Imran Khan, their former brothers-in-law. 

Last week, the British government distanced itself from Foreign Office Minister Zac Goldsmith after he intervened in Pakistani politics and tweeted in support of ousted Imran Khan. 

Downing Street was asked whether Zac, who is Foreign Office Minister for the Pacific and the International Environment, was speaking on behalf of the government.

A spokesperson responded: “With regard to Pakistan, we respect Pakistan’s democratic system and we would not get into its domestic political affairs. We have longstanding ties with Pakistan and are monitoring developments.”

The 10 Downing Street spokesperson was unable to say whether Zac would be told to take down his tweet or make it clear it was issued in a personal capacity. Zac’s tweet remains available on his timeline. 

Zac had said: “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.”

Number 10 Downing Street stressed that Zac's remarks did not represent the UK government's position.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s deputy spokesperson said the UK would not get involved in Pakistan's domestic affairs, adding: “We respect Pakistan's political system.”

During Zac's campaign against London Mayor Sadiq Khan, Imran Khan had supported Zac and urged his followers to support his election bid. Sadiq Khan had expressed his anger over Imran Khan’s support for Zac. Zac’s campaign was so controversial in nature that politicians had called it Islamophobic. 

Several prominent social media users on Twitter have condemned the trend of holding protests outside the homes of political opponents.