Claims of an affair between Hina Rabbani Khar, the 34-year-old foreign minister, and Bilawal Bhutto Zardari, the 24-year-old scion of the country’s most powerful dynasty have fuelled feverish speculation and outrage in Pakistan since they were reported in a Bangladeshi tabloid earlier this week.
According to Blitz Weekly, the married foreign secretary, who has two young children with her millionaire husband, and Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari, want to marry and have been regularly talking on the telephone and sending one another cards.
The tabloid claimed President Zardari is firmly opposed to their alleged relationship and had sought details of their mobile telephone conversations to establish the facts.
The paper cited “western intelligence agencies” as the source of details of messages the ‘couple’ had sent each other.
Hina and her husband have dismissed the claims as “reprehensible” and “trash”.
According to The Daily Telegraph, some Pakistan People’s Party figures said they believed the claims were part of a plot by the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) to damage Hina’s reputation because it blames her for her part in facilitating a UN investigation into thousands of missing people detained by the security forces.
One PPP official told The Daily Telegraph that the ISI expects the United Nations’ Working Group on Enforced and Involuntary Disappearances to recommend senior army and intelligence officials be charged for their role and blame Hina for allowing the delegation into the country. “They are not happy with her,” the official said. “The UN mission received a cold reception but Hina was called in by the president to meet him and the army chief. She crossed some red line.” The government has not officially commented on the allegations.
Meanwhile, William Gomes, a journalist, has claimed that the man behind the report in Blitz, Salah Uddin Shoaib Choudhury is a cheat and fraud.
Gomes quoted a journalist Brenda West as saying “Choudhury operates a shady website called Jethro Conglomerate, for which a scam alert has been posted by an organization that regulates the business dealings of the commodities Choudhury sells. Choudhury states on the Jethro Conglomerates website that he represents a company called Noca. Noca itself does not seem legitimate. It is not licensed. It provides no information about who owns or runs the company. The representatives they do list could be of interest to law enforcement. The Noca site says it is located in Canada but it gives an unpublished Nevada phone number. There is an odor of mobster activity connected with this enterprise, as well as Choudhury’s involvement in it. As we shall see in Choudhury’s published resume, Choudhury worked closely with the indicted mobster, Aziz Mohammed Bhai, who fled Bangladesh in 2009 to avoid imprisonment for various charges, including murder.”
Military denies differences with Hina, warns Telegraph: RAWALPINDI: The military on Saturday rejected the rumors of differences between Foreign Minister Hina Rabbani Khar and the country’s premier spy agency, the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI). A statement issued by the Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) said the allegations published by UK-based Daily Telegraph about purported differences between Khar and the ISI were “absurd and baseless”. “The ISI has nothing to do with this defamation campaign and neither any problem exists between the foreign minister and the agency,” an ISPR spokesman said on Saturday. He said that it was the handiwork of those who wanted to weaken the state by creating misunderstandings between various institutions. “It is not something new because such people have been fabricating misleading and impish stories in the past as well,” he said. The ISPR said that the British newspaper “needs to behave more responsibly and confirm veracity of information from respective entities before printing such malicious stories.” The spokesman termed the effort involving the agencies as “rubbish” and “part of a propaganda campaign”. “We reserve the right to take legal action on such anonymous reports without quoting any names and sources,” he added. Staff Report