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Tuesday April 23, 2024

Who’s going to be the First Lady?

History has seen Madar-e-Millat Fatima Jinnah occasionally accompanying Quaid-e-Azam, who was a widower, on various occasions, including official events

By Asim Yasin
March 11, 2024
Aseefa Bhutto Zardari waves to her supporters at a large gathering at a women workers convention in Shahpur Rizvi, Tando Allahyar on January 17, 2024. — Facebook/Pakistan Peoples Party - PPP
Aseefa Bhutto Zardari waves to her supporters at a large gathering at a women workers convention in Shahpur Rizvi, Tando Allahyar on January 17, 2024. — Facebook/Pakistan Peoples Party - PPP

ISLAMABAD: Who will be the first lady of Pakistan? This is the question on many people’s minds after President Asif Ali Zardari took oath as the 14th president of the country on Sunday after having been accompanied by his youngest child Aseefa Bhutto Zardari as he was ushered to his oath-taking.

The question became particularly relevant after Aseefa was tagged by her sister Bakhtawar Bhutto Zardari on Sunday evening in a tweet in which she had shared a photo of Aseefa accompanying Zardari. The text 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” and added Aseefa’s name at the end.

Usually, a first lady is a president’s spouse but President Zardari is a widower after the martyrdom of Shaheed Benazir Bhutto. The position of the first lady had remained vacant during his first stint as president (2008 to 2013). This time though there is a lot of speculation. Aseefa Bhutto Zardari was in her teens during Zardari’s first stint at the presidency, but now she is 31. As Arab News put it, she made her political debut at a PPP rally in Multan on November 30, 2020.

History has seen Madar-e-Millat Fatima Jinnah occasionally accompanying Quaid-e-Azam, who was a widower, on various occasions, including official events.

There are many instances from foreign countries when various presidents who were widowers declared their daughters and even nieces and sisters as the first lady.

Former US president Andrew Jackson, a widower, asked his niece Emily Donelson to serve as the first lady. Two other US presidents, Chester Arthur and Grover Cleveland, asked their sisters to serve as first lady.