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Loose cannons mar applause for Hina Khar


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Pakistan’s newly installed Foreign Minister, Hina Rabbani Khar, arrives at the airport in New Delhi, India, Tuesday, July 26, 2011. – AP Photo

New Delhi: Save for an ill-conceived threat by India’s retiring air force chief to nuke Pakistan and a goofy politician’s warning to Foreign Minister Hina Rabbani Khar not to trust China, even as Beijing’s envoy in Delhi watched, the Indian media’s fulsome praise for the visitor from Islamabad was a rare moment to relish.

A report on Wednesday said Defence Minister A.K. Antony “was not amused” by comments by Air Chief Marshal P. V. Naik to the effect that India’s response to a possible Pakistani nuclear Attack would be “very heavy”.

The IAF chief retires on Sunday and the defence minister felt the comments were in bad taste when the two countries were holding foreign minister-level talks.

Naik was apparently responding to a media query on the new Pakistani tactical nuclear missile ‘Nasr’ which is touted to be a ‘game-changer’ in a future war.

In another diplomatic incident, senior rightwing politician Ram Jethmalani extracted an invitation for a dinner hosted for Ms Khar by Pakistan’s envoy Shahid Malik. Claiming to be a friend of Pakistan he then proceeded to be allowed to make a brief after-dinner speech which was grudgingly granted.

After rambling on incoherently about Ms Khar’s good looks he complicated life for his hosts by turning the occasion into China-bashing. An angry high commissioner had to take the mike from his guest and stress that the insulting remarks about a close friend of Pakistan were uncalled for.

However, that may have been the only moment when Ms Khar looked uncomfortable during her maiden trip to India. The bigger story was that the Indian media was awestruck by the superior ease with which she went about her business.

“Pak Puts On Its Best Face,” noted The Times of India, while mass circulation Hindi newspaper Navbharat Times said India was “sweating over model-like minister”.

“Pak bomb lands in India,” joked the Mumbai Mirror tabloid in a tongue-in-cheek reference to the history of wars between the countries and attacks by Pakistani militant groups on Indian soil.

The Mail Today tabloid devoted extensive space to her choice of outfit as she flew into New Delhi airport on Tuesday.

“The 34-year-old minister scored full marks on the fashion front when she was spotted at the Delhi airport in a monotone outfit of blue — the colour of the season,” it said.

“Tasteful accessories — Roberto Cavalli sunglasses, oversized Hermes Birkin bag and classic pearl jewellery — added a hint of glamour to her look,” it added.

The Telegraph newspaper meanwhile compared fresh-faced Ms Khar with her elderly counterpart S.M. Krishna.

“In the unkind world of adjectives, the odds are stacked against SMK and in favour of HRK,” it said, using the ministers’ initials. “Khar carries with ease descriptions such as ‘stunning’ and ‘petite'.”

“All eyes on glamorous Pak minister,” said the Rediff website. “She is clearly being looked at as a perfect combination of beauty and brains.”

Journalist and author Seema Goswami saw a link between the monsoonal downpour that struck the Indian capital on Wednesday morning and the generally fawning coverage of Ms Khar.

“Even the Delhi skies are drooling,” she wrote. The minister will visit the Ajmer shrine of Khwaja Moinuddin Chishti on Thursday before flying back home from there.

Comments (11) Closed

AA Jul 29, 2011 05:11am
Powerfull media can make or break
bashir Jul 29, 2011 07:31am
Our new FM, Ms Khar is like feeling of fresh air.She is different from our politicians who are corrupt and dishonest with nation. I wish her success as FM
Ali Ghauri Jul 29, 2011 02:19pm
A pretty young lady to get a chance and represent Pakistan on a significantly curcial platform of Pakistan Foreign Relations with Neighbors. Apart from the looks and attire of Hina Rabbani Khar,which will be making headlines for some time now, the real trait is to be tested as such! Hope, not looking at the inexperience of the minister I look forward of some smart talks with her counter part and productive too!
Iftikhar Husain Jul 29, 2011 04:11pm
The new foriegn minister is not only good looking but also speaks with confidence it is a welcoming sign.
Aashish Jul 29, 2011 05:58pm
Ms Khar has brought the necessary freshness in the atmosphere which was genuinely required for the change in the relations between the two countries. Cunningness, slyness, double speak and other such bad qualities were totally absent in he body language she looked perfectly at ease and eluded great charisma and self confidence. At times she didn't look like a politician at all. She seemed very genuine in her talks and approach. Believe be we all citizens of India really liked her. I personally feel and wish that she should someday become PM of Pakistan. My good wishes to her. God Bless you Madam FM.
Jamil Jul 29, 2011 08:24pm
She will help losen up the tension and lower the tides of hatred among the two nations, obviously her attire and particular eastern woman's get up will make things little cool dow, thats the hope we have got now!
waqas Jul 30, 2011 12:22am
Its not the age and neither the looks we want in a minister. its the crucial times and the present challenge which is needed tobe addressed. Its not india we are worried about. any foreign minister will go about it comfortably. its how we take up with america. I am hoping and that she does fine in future and represent pakistani masses in true sense when it will come to dealing with americans.
Zulmai Khan Jul 30, 2011 12:44pm
Perhaps the best thing noticeable was a very fatherly behaviour of BJP leaders attitude and a smile.on his face. He has more resposibilities to put smiles on the very poor population of subcontenant and once for all solve the Kashmir issue which has been on the mind of us all. Why it should not be a music and the great everlasting nightingales like Mukeesh, Lata, Rafi and Noor Jehan. We public have to promote relations not dictated by politicians and military but by our hearts to make ordinary people smile and promote peace and prosperity.
AC Jul 30, 2011 06:43pm
The Pakistani nation is sick of all these men governing us since 1948. It has been more than 60 years and these male leaders have done NOTHING for the country becuase of their incompetence and ignorence. Now it is time for the qualified women to take a step forward and govern Pakistan. The Pakistani nation needs more women like HRK. The men have had their chance and failed so let the women have their chance and see what they can do for Pakistan.
Sanjay Jul 30, 2011 06:47pm
Ms Khar, Thank you for your honest approach of friendship and continued dialouge with our country. I wish you nothing but huge success in your future course of actions. We welcomed you with our open heart in India and will continue to do that. KEEP UP THE GOOD WORK M'am
Khwaja A Ali Jul 30, 2011 10:48pm
Contesting and winning a NA seat from Muzafargarh might be Hina’s last name charisma but elevation to the position of foreign minister job is certainly her talent and education(a lot for any kid of feudal or industrialist in Pakistan). In the mean time, her appointment might have a long term plan of President Zardari for South Punjab or future of Pakistan, who knows. I can see Hina in Prime Minister house very soon, probably after the next elections. Good luck to you Hina, although I am a PPP founder worker from a place close to your home town, but am a worker/ jiyala not a feudal and will keep chanting Bhutto jive sada jive………all the best, Khwaja A Ali,LL.M, a former PRO, Iranian Embassy, Saudi Arabia,presntly residing in Florida, USA.