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DNA Exclusive: Decoding Pakistan President Zardaris Bizarre First Lady Move


New Delhi: Last month, Pakistan held general elections amidst weeks of political turmoil. Eventually, Shahbaz Sharif emerged as the agreed-upon Prime Minister. On March 9, Asif Ali Zardari from the Pakistan People’s Party was elected as the 14th President of Pakistan. He took his oath on Sunday.

However, the spotlight has turned to the position of First Lady. In many countries worldwide, it’s customary for the President’s wife to be referred to as the First Lady. This tradition has been upheld throughout Pakistan’s history, but President Asif Ali Zardari is breaking from it this time. According to reports in Pakistani media, the First Lady of Pakistan will be Asifa Bhutto, the daughter of President Asif Ali Zardari.

In today’s DNA, Zee News anchor Sourabh Raaj Jain analysed Pakistan’s politics and its new President Asif Ali Zardari’s bizarre planned move to declare his younger daughter Asifa Ali Bhutto as the First Lady instead of his wife.

Asifa Bhutto was born on February 3, 1993, in Pakistan. She is the youngest daughter of Asif Ali Zardari and Benazir Bhutto.  Asifa Bhutto stepped into the political arena three years ago in 2021, organizing numerous rallies.

While Asifa Bhutto Zardari is a familiar name to the Pakistani people, her designation as the First Lady has stirred some unease among them. The reason lies in the past: Asif Ali Zardari, now elected President for the second time, previously held office from 2008 to 2013, during which there was no First Lady.

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This absence was due to the tragic event of December 27, 2007, when Asif Ali Zardari’s wife, Begum Benazir Bhutto, was assassinated during a rally. This time around, instead of his wife, Zardari has indicated his intention to confer the status of First Lady upon his younger daughter. However, no official announcement has been made yet. Upon its confirmation, Asifa Ali Bhutto will be entitled to all the privileges accorded to the First Lady of Pakistan.

Traditionally, only the President’s wife held the position of First Lady in Pakistan. Zardari’s decision to bestow this title upon Asifa Bhutto marks a departure from this long-standing tradition, consolidating his family’s prominence.

Currently, Asif Ali Zardari’s family comprises four members: himself, now serving as the 14th President of Pakistan, and his wife, Bakhtawar Bhutto, who resides in London with her husband. Their younger daughter, Asifa Bhutto, has been designated as the First Lady by Asif Ali Zardari.

Some in Pakistan see echoes of her mother, Benazir Bhutto, in Asifa Bhutto. Asifa’s speeches have garnered significant praise, prompting speculation that Asif Ali Zardari intends to introduce her into formal politics. Media reports suggest that Asifa Bhutto may be nominated to contest the Shahdkot seat in an upcoming by-election.


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