Islamabad: It’s the juiciest bit of news to have come out of Pakistan in several years, and this one, mercifully, is not about terror, but love. First broke by a Bangladesh tabloid, the Weekly Blitz, the story connects the very young, and eligible bachelor son of President Asif Zardari, Bilawal Bhutto, with Pakistan’s Minister of Foreign Affaris, the married, and a decade older, but still young and attractive, Hina Rabbani. Since the story broke earlier this week, there has been total official silence, but the internet world is abuzz with the exciting love story. Giving credence to the story is report that Hina Khar’s millionaire husband Firoze Gulzar on Tuesday submitted an application to Pakistan’s Federal Investigation Agency for subscriber details and call data record of two “suspected” numbers.
According to the original story, the 24-year-old chairperson of the Pakistan Peoples’ Party, Bilawal and the minister, 11 years older, are in love and plan to settle in Switzerland.
President Asif Ali Zardari, it says, is vehemently opposed to his son’s eagerness to marry the mother-of-two. He fears such a move would jeopardize Bilawal’s political career and spell doom for the party.
The report claims Zardari caught the two in a compromising position at his residence and in an effort to break them up, unsuccessfully used government machinery against Gulzar’s business interests.
It also says Khar, who reportedly wants to end her marriage, sent Bilawal a birthday card with a hand-written message: “The foundation of our relation is eternal and soon we shall be just ourselves.”
Hina Rabbani Khar, the foreign minister of Pakistan, was in New York, to deliver a speech at the Asia Society on Wednesday, but acted as if she was unaware of the scandal breaking back home. Khar’s speech centred on how the world has now entered the “Asian century” and that the establishment of democracy in Pakistan will allow her country to share in the economic transformation of Asia.
Pakistani media preferred not to go to town over the story, but their counterparts in India are having a field day. Hina’s husband, Gulzar, was, quoted by Pakistan’s Geo News network saying that he thinks the tabloid’s story of his wife having an affair is ”rubbish.”
A few reports say that the Islamists in Opposition may use this to beat the PPP government as illicit romantic affairs are punishable under the existing law of Pakistan.
Born November 19, 1977, Hina Rabbani Khar hails from an influential feudal and landowner family and is the daughter of politician and landowner Nur Rabbani Khar and the niece of Ghulam Mustafa Khar, a former Governor of Punjab.
Despite the incendiary nature of the allegations, Hina-Bilawal duo seem to be getting some level of sympathy from the average reader. One writes, “I would never have normally commented on this affair. But the media has given it an importance, not bad because she is definitely a person to attract the attention of people across borders. She has risen to that post, that too in a country, where it is stated to have very small chances for such a rise. The point of comment is that where law, religion and society permits such alliances under proper code of conduct i.e. SHARIA, what is the problem. But if this is to malign any person, un-necessarily, the person needs to punished for it. I hope and wish good sense prevails on all to see every body living his/her life the one desires.”