Conflict & Justice

Pakistan's feudal foreign minister


Pakistan Foreign Minister Hina Rabbani Khar (R) shakes hands with Indian Foreign Minister S. M. Krishna (L) prior to a meeting in New Delhi on July 27, 2011. India and Pakistan's foreign ministers were set to hold their first talks in a year, looking to breathe fresh life into a peace process still stifled by the trauma of the 2008 Mumbai attacks. India suspended contacts with its arch-rival after the attacks and their peace dialogue has struggled to gain any real traction since its formal resumption earlier this year in an atmosphere of mutual recrimination and mistrust.



In the grand old tradition of Pakistan's feudal leaders, the country's new foreign minister -- 34 year old Hinda Rabbani Khar -- spares no expense when it comes to style, Indian papers estimate.

Gracing the gossip pages and the style section as well as the dull old front page, Khar has drawn gasps of admiration for her wardrobe -- showing up in an all-blue salwar suit and headscarf and then shifting to an all-white outfit that recalled Benazir Bhutto. 

But for a political leader from a country where the per capita income hovers around $1000 a year, she seems to have little appreciation for the sacrifices her constituents have to bear. 

India's style mavens estimate that her accessories alone -- a pearl necklace, Birkin bag and Cavalli sunglasses among them -- probably cost her upwards of $30,000, or 30 years worth of toil for the average Pakistani citizen.

“She dresses conservatively, conscious of the fact that she represents a Muslim state. Her brief to the designer is not to make body-hugging dresses. But she’s extremely stylish,” the Hindustan Times quoted Lahore-based Honey Waqar, who has designed for Khar, as saying. “Politicians here are usually not aware about brands, but she knows a lot and loves accessorising with stylish bags,” the paper quoted Islamabad-based designer Sobia Nazir as saying. “

In case you didn't know already, Gandhian asceticism isn't exactly in here, either.  

Here's HT:

Delhi’s fashion circuit and even Twitter was abuzz with style talk about her on Tuesday. “I love the understated pearls. The bag gives a formal and crisp flavour,” says designer Nida Mahmood. “Hina Rabbani Khar is the newest stylista in India,” tweeted Himanshu Parmekar. Meanwhile, all the talk about her fashion sense made some wonder if the focus is being taken away from what she’s in India for. “If Hina Rabbani were a male foreign minister of Pakistan, would she EVER be deconstructed in terms of look and dress?” tweeted Barkha Dutt, Group Editor, NDTV. “Not too many cute male ministers around, yes?” wrote back Twitter user Nishant.