The bag that worked

If it takes a fancy bag and pearls to help humanise a reviled people, what’s the fuss, I ask.

Gulraiz Khan July 15, 2011
Not surprisingly, Hina Rabbani Khar has captured the popular imagination. The bag, the shades, the pearls and the chiffon. No news article about the Pak-India dialogue was complete without a reference to all of them. And while every major news outlet did precisely that on Wednesday, Thursday brought the bashing.

Why is the media fixated by the bling, and not the brawn, they asked? Khar-the-celebrity overshadowed Khar-the-politician, they said. The media should differentiate between stars and politicians, they recommended. Why the holier-than-thou attitude, I ask?

Besides the exchange of most-wanted terror lists and general accusations, no major breakthrough had been made in Pak-India relations after the Mumbai attacks. In fact, we have barely talked a couple of times a year since then. Hawks on either side of the border ‘predicted’ that there would be little progress this time around too. But then again, did we really need hawks to tell us that? Were we expecting Khar to wish the animosity away on her first India assignment?

That she is not the one calling the shots in foreign policy is no state secret. But that is not even the point. It is unrealistic to expect resolving issues with your neighbours while your own house is falling apart. Until our institutions cut themselves to size and try not usurping each other’s authority, peace in the neighbourhood will be a distant dream.

Meanwhile, the sheer lack of interaction and consistently bad press has made the world in large, and our neighbours in particular, view Pakistanis with suspicion. That, in itself, is a non-starter to a meaningful peace process.

Given the uncertainty at home and hostility abroad, what could Khar possibly achieve on her first major assignment? Humanise Pakistanis, at best. And she achieved that several times over, something our former older, wiser, more experienced foreign ministers were not able to achieve.

If it takes a fancy bag and pearls to help humanise a reviled people, what’s the fuss, I ask.
Gulraiz Khan A sub-editor on the business desk of The Express Tribune who is interested in visual journalism and hopes to turn newspapers in to works of art
The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necassarily reflect the views and policies of the Express Tribune.


Faiza | 12 years ago | Reply What could she have achieved? she could have set the tone for a new/different version of foreign policy than what we have seen already. As the youngest foreign minister of Pakistan, there is a lot that she could have done, and she managed to do nothing except show what a poor country's very rich minister looks like. As a young person she has the opportunity to change/shake up the foreign policy stance of Pakistan towards India and towards other countries.(only then can she lead the very senior people working below her) With India, she should have talked economics-trade enhancement and brought back the discussion of the IPI gas pipeline which was shelved. She should have talked about the problems of terrorism that both countries face and how they can tackle them together, and what concrete measures can be taken to reduces forces on each others borders. These were real issues that she should have brought up and started perhaps a new era of cooperation with India that moved beyond mere rhetoric. So i dont understand what u mean by 'humanise' but i dont think her berkin and her cavalli glasses sent any kind of serious message to India. On the contrary she should have dressed more simply and let people focus on her message and her ideas.
Sid | 12 years ago | Reply interesting.. so it takes around $15000 of designer accessories to humanise oneself..
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