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Aseefa Bhutto becomes ‘First Lady of Pakistan’

Courtesy: Geo News

President Asif Ali Zardari recognises his youngest daughter as his first lady

Aseefa Bhutto, the daughter of newly elected President Asif Ali Zardari, is set to become the country’s First Lady, Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) Information Secretary Faisal Karim Kundi confirmed on Monday.

“Aseefa Bhutto will be declared as the First Lady and an official announcement will be made in this regard,” Kundi told Geo News.

He said the president also held consultation with the party leaders on recognising the scion of Bhutto family as the first lady

Zardari was sworn in as the country’s 14th head of state on Sunday a day after he swept the presidential election after obtaining 411 electoral votes.

Following the oath-taking ceremony, reports began circulating in the media that President Zardari was planning to recognise her daughter Aseefa as the first lady.

Bakhtawar Bhutto Zardari, the eldest daughter, tagged Aseefa in an X post on Sunday in which she could be seen accompanying her father to the oath-taking ceremony.

The post on X read: “From accompanying president Asif Zardari to all his court hearings to fighting for his release from jail — now by his side as First Lady of Pakistan”.

Asifa Bhutto discharged from Lahore hospital

A first lady is the president’s wife, however, in this case, President Zardari is a widower after his wife, former prime minister Benazir Bhutto, was martyred in 2007.

Since then, the president did not remarry and the position of the first lady also remained vacant during his first tenure as the country’s president — from 2008 to 2013.

However, back then time it was different, as Aseefa was a teenager during her father’s first tenure as the head of state, and currently, she is 31 years old.

Aseefa had actively been involved in the party’s electoral campaign in the run-up to the February 8 polls and was seen leading various rallies in a bid to seek support for her brother Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari — the party’s then-candidate for the prime minister’s post.

Aseefa made her political debut at a Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) rally in Multan on November 30, 2020.

However, this is not a first that a president in Pakistan is declaring someone else as first lady instead of his spouse.

Former military ruler Field Marshal Ayub Khan declared his daughter Naseem Aurangzeb as the first lady after becoming the president in 1958.

She was the daughter-in-law of Wali Swat Mian Gul Jahanzeb and the wife of his son Mian Gul Aurangzeb. Mian Gul Aurangzeb was the governor of Balochistan and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.

Mian Gul Aurangzeb’s younger brother Mian Gul Amirzeb was also the son-in-law of Field Marshal Ayub Khan. Ayub Khan’s younger daughter Jamila was the wife of Amirzeb. Naseem and Jameela were maternal aunts of PTI Secretary General Omar Ayub Khan. Islamabad High Court Judge Mian Gul Hasan is grandson of Zeib Ayub Khan and cousin of Umar Ayub.

Moreover, in the past, Madar-e-Millat Fatima Jinnah also accompanied her brother Quaid-i-Azam Mohammad Ali Jinnah occasionally on various occasions including official events. He was also a widower.

There are many instances from foreign countries when presidents, who were widowers, had asked their daughters, sisters and even nieces to become their first lady.

Former United States president Andrew Jackson, who was a widower, had asked his niece Emily Donelson to serve as the country’s first lady. Moreover, two other US presidents — Chester Arthur and Grover Cleveland — asked their sisters to serve as first lady.

1- Header image: President Asif Ali Zardari and his youngest daughter Aseefa Bhutto-Zardari. — Instagram/Aseefabz

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