Imran to ditch traditional sherwani for oath-taking ceremony

Tailor was ordered a sherwani, later instructed to make a waistcoat but that idea was also dropped

Qadeer Tanoli August 14, 2018
Tailor was ordered a sherwani, later instructed to make a waistcoat but that idea was also dropped. PHOTO: FILE

ISLAMABAD: As part of his austerity measures, the prime minister in waiting – Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) chief Imran Khan – is likely to stick to his white dress code and wear an old sherwani even at the red-letter day of his political life on August 18.

After the general election of July 25, an order was placed for Khan’s sherwani which was later revised to stitching a waistcoat for him for his oath-taking ceremony. However, this order was also cancelled because the premier in waiting wanted to adopt austerity.

According to sources close to Khan, the PTI chief while following tradition of the founder of Pakistan Quaid-e-Azam will surely wear a sherwani but he will break the tradition of getting stitched a new one from a specified tailor while taking oath as the premier.

‘Jalil Tailor and Drapers’ has been making ceremonial clothing for Pakistani political elite for more than four decades. Earlier located in Rawalpindi, the celebrated tailors have now an outlet in Blue Area of the Islamabad which is hardly two kilometres away from the Parliament House.

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“General Zia used to get his sherwani tailored from our shop every year till his demise in a plane crash in 1988. Even after that period privileged class used to hire our services for ceremonial dresses especially sherwani and waistcoat,” said Anjum Jalil who owns the shop along with his father Jalil.

This tailor shop stitched ceremonial dresses for figures like former presidents – Ghulam Ishaq Khan and General Musharraf. Former PM Nawaz Sharif after winning general election in 2013 also reportedly got his sherwani stitched from this shop which he wore at his oath-taking ceremony.

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However, after victory of the PTI in the last month’s election the tradition of tailoring sherwani for the premier seems to be changing. “We were first asked to stitch a sherwani for the PTI’s chief. However, later on the order for sherwani was replaced with that of a waistcoat but this too was cancelled as the premier in waiting wants austerity to prevail at all levels starting from him as a person,” Jalil said.

However, he said, they got an order for tailoring a gown for the speaker and it is the only order which they have got after the change of government. Jail, however, said he had also tailored the bridal sherwani of Imran Khan on the occasion of his second marriage.

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Talking about his trade, he said stitching any sort of dress may take from a day to 10 days or even more.

“Making a dress on order and getting the job done depends on what you want and when you want it to be delivered. Depending on nature of the order, it may take from a single day to even 10 days,” he said.

Anjum Jalil is master of cutting and he learnt this art from his father. Generally when an order is placed for tailoring ceremonial dress for a political leader both the father-son duo does the job itself instead of relying on their employees.

Interestingly during the oath-taking ceremony of MNAs on Monday, the chief photographer of the National Assembly was stunned when Imran Khan borrowed his waistcoat and wore it for his official photograph on the occasion.

Like many other British era traditions, this ritual traces its roots to the colonial mindset of the likes of Winston Churchill and many others who used to their have personal tailors to get their ceremonial dresses stitched. Henry Poole and Co was famous for stitching Churchill’s ceremonial suits.


Zainnab | 2 years ago | Reply Looooooooove the article. Love Pakistan and Imran Khan.
Dr.M.M.Khan | 2 years ago | Reply While one appreciates the incoming PM desire for austerity ,i would like to ask him how often as a captain he opened the attack with an old ball? Please wear a New Sherwani at the swearing inn. We need to maintain some traditions. You surely had new clothes made when marrying Reham or am i mistaken?
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