ISLMABAD (TIP): Pakistan’s most famous former sports star turned politician Imran Khan remarried on Thursday, January 8, in a low-key ceremony attended by a handful of friends.

Despite repeated rumors of Imran Khan’s nuptials there had been no official confirmation he would marry former BBC journalist Reham Khan until a few pictures of the pared-down ceremony flashed across the nation’s TV screens.

Earlier in the day one studio discussion speculated on the outfit Reham, a former BBC weather and regional news presenter, might wear.

In the end she confounded the fashion pundits with a white embroidered traditional lehengha. Pictures from the ceremony at Imran Khan’s hilltop pile outside Islamabad showed a stiff and unsmiling politician wearing a cream, silk sherwani.

The need for restraint comes as the country continues to recover from the December Taliban massacre of more than 130 schoolboys in Peshawar, the capital of the province controlled by the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI), the party Khan founded and leads. The attack, which has been described as “Pakistan’s 9/11”, has put the country on a war footing with militant groups. The government has taken dramatic steps, including the scrapping of a death penalty moratorium and amending the constitution to allow military courts to try civilians.

Absent from the tiny ceremony were key members of the family, who have expressed their displeasure at the union. “We are basically boycotting it,” said a relative who did not wish to be named. “The family only hoped that he married a good person and we don’t believe she is. He is an icon and he deserves much better.”

In recent days Reham Khan has endured social media abuse after pictures and videos from her career as a BBC presenter circulated online. Her on-screen appearances in skirts and moderately revealing outfits were never going to go down well in some quarters of the conservative country.

Earlier in the week Khan flew to London to inform his two teenage sons about the marriage. On his return he told a press conference “marriage is not a crime” but that his children were his “first priority”.

Whether or not his sons gave him their blessing, Khan’s relatives in Pakistan remain angry.

“No one in the family is happy with this soap opera,” said the relative who did not want to be named. “His hardcore supporters in the party are also disappointed because there is a myth about him that he left his family in order to save Pakistan.

“They didn’t care about his playboy past because they said at least he is honest and sacrificed his family for his country. And now he is starting a new one.”