Of late, Pakistan’s foreign minister, Hina Rabbani Khar, has become the unfortunate target of tabloid headlines here in the sub-continent (and beyond, I expect, as the story continues to go viral). According to an “expose” in the Weekly Blitz (a Bangladeshi tabloid), Pakistan’s top diplomat is allegedly embroiled in a passionate affair with Bilawal Zardari Bhutto, the 24-year-old scion of the Bhutto dynasty. His father is Pakistan’s current President, Asif Ali Zardari, and his mother is slain, two-time former prime minister of Pakistan, Benazir Bhutto. The story also indicates that not only are the couple “in love” but she is supposedly leaving her husband (industrialist Firoze Gulzar) and two young children to be for him.
The Blitz expose has garnered considerable media speculation despite the questionable nature of the source. The article quotes a “western intelligence agency” as the primary source for the piece. Overall, the reaction in Pakistani media has been largely muted, although it hasn’t prevented news dailies from circulating the story, which is probably fueling conspiracy theories as we speak. The Daily Telegraph has quoted a senior Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) official who considers the story part of a plot by the country’s intelligence agency to damage Ms. Khar’s reputation for having facilitated the visit of United Nations’ Working Group on Enforced and Involuntary Disappearances, which was investigating into the thousands of missing people detained by security forces. The agency has since denied this allegation.