The Ayla Malik and Imran Khan story has many twists, alleged audio leaks only latest

DailyBiteDec 22, 2022 | 14:09

The Ayla Malik and Imran Khan story has many twists, alleged audio leaks only latest

Ayla Malik and Imran Khan

Former cricket team captain and former Prime Minister of Pakistan Imran Khan is never away from the media spotlight. But the phone call recordings leaked this week have put him in a spot that he wished saw no light.

The former playboy's tall claims about undergoing a reformation into a star politician cum religious preacher have fallen flat. In the leaks, he can be heard in conversation with two different women gossiping about multiple women in a manner not befitting a politician of his stature.


Imran Khan's party Tehreek-e-Insaf has rejected the audio tapes as fake and fabricated. Imran Khan himself hasn't said a word. Ayla Malik, who is being alleged to be the woman on the other end, has said the voice is not hers. Just who is Ayla Malik and what is her relationship with Imran Khan?

Ayla Malik
Ayla Malik

The Beginning

  • Ayla Malik is the granddaughter of the Nawab of Kalabagh, Malik Amir Mohammad Khan. The nawab was notorious for his brutality in his heydays.
  • After the British Raj folded up, the nawab became a prominent political force in Pakistan and was generally admired for his muscle power.
  • The family remained active in politics even after the Nawab died a mysterious death in 1967. It's still not clear whether the nawab was killed by his wife (Ayla Malik's mother), his son(s) or his daughter-in-law.
  • Ayla Malik went to school in Islamabad. She did not finish her education. Her intermediate certificate was declared fake by the Board of Intermediate and Secondary Education in Rawalpindi. She claimed she was a graduate from a Russian university; that too was proven false after the degree certificate she presented to the election office turned out to be fake.
  • Lack of higher education however did not come in the way of Ayla Malik who went on to become a popular news anchor in Pakistani news media and a prominent politician.
  • Ayla Malik was a national-level badminton player in Pakistan. She has been an avid hunter because of her upbringing in a feudal family. She is also a shooter, and has participated in national level championships. When some gunmen attacked her election convoy in Mianwali in 2013, she took up and a gun and returned fire instead of ducking down.
Ayla Malik, a shooter, has participated in national-level championships.
Ayla Malik, a shooter, has participated in national-level championships.
  • Ayla has been married twice. Her first marriage broke down because her husband's family, a feudal equal, was "too liberal". The second marriage broke down because the second husband's family, a Baloch political family, was "too conservative".

The Middle

  • She began her political career in 1998 with her maternal uncle Farooq Ahmed Leghari's Millat party. Ayla Malik was hastily made a deputy secretary-general. Farooq Ahmed Leghari was a former President of Pakistan.
  • Ayla Malik was a member of the National Assembly between 2002 and 2007. Her sister Sumaira Malik also became a member of the National Assembly.
  • She came very close to Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaaf chairman Imran Khan when she was an anchor with Dunya News. Imran Khan came from Mianwali, the district her hometown Kalabagh is located in.
  • In 2011, she joined Imran Khan's Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaaf or PTI and went on to lead its social media cell.
Imran Khan and Ayla Malik
Imran Khan and Ayla Malik
  • The phone recordings doing the rounds on social media in 2022 are most likely from this period, when the two were extremely close. So close that this caused an estrangement between Imran Khan and his cousins in Mianwali, as Imran gave his own seat to Ayla Malik to contest from. His Niazi cousins were miffed that they built Imran's support base in Mianwali while Imran Khan was mostly away from the constituency, yet they were denied the party ticket when Imran Khan vacated Mianwali seat to retain Rawalpindi, the second seat he had won.
  • Though candidates are not required to prove their education credentials, Ayla submitted her graduation certificate this time and the fabrication of that certificate led to her disqualification.
  • The rumours of the torrid affair became so public that satire shows on mainstream TV channels did not shy away from winking at them.

Imran Khan's previous wife Reham Khan in her book says Imran had to break up with Ayla Malik after Ayla Malik's boyfriend confronted him and asked him to either marry her or leave her.

The End

  • Ayla Malik announced quitting Imran Khan's party in 2017, saying PTI was no longer pursuing the policies of public welfare.
Ayla Malik quit Imran Khan's party in 2017
Ayla Malik quit Imran Khan's party in 2017
  • Imran Khan's party PTI was investigated for receiving foreign fundings which is forbidden for political parties in Pakistan. In the documents submitted to the court, Ayla Malik is shown to have received Rs 70 lakh from party funds, for no explicable reason.


  • The leaking of the phone call recordings are said to be the revenge of the military establishment, which has been under fire from Imran Khan.
  • Both the recording and the leaking of the phone calls are illegal according to Pakistani law. But everything is fair in war, especially the one of oneupmanship in Pakistan.
  • Ayla Malik is another collateral damage in the war between Imran Khan and the military establishment which is likely to expose more politicians affiliated with the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaaf party.
Last updated: December 23, 2022 | 19:16
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