KARACHI: Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) co-chairman Asif Ali Zardari on Tuesday became the chieftain of his tribe, replacing his late father, veteran politician Hakim Ali Zardari who passed away in May 2011.
A large number of people belonging to the Zardari tribe of Sindh and Balochistan attended the ceremony in Benazirabad, where strict security measures were taken.
They tied the knot of his dastar (turban), nominating him as the chief of their tribe.
After the ceremony he will now be called ‘Rais Asif Ali Khan Zardari.’
Normally, tribal chiefs are given the title of Nawab or Sardar, but in the Zardari clan, tribal chiefs are referred to as Rais.
After the death of his father, Zardari had publicly announced that his son, Bilawal Bhutto Zardari, would be the next chieftain of his tribe. However, elders of his tribe advised him to refrain from handing over the position to Bilawal.
Apart from Nawabshah, the Zardari tribe is found in Dadu, Sanghar, Jamshoro, Thatta and Naushehro Feroz districts in Sindh.
The Zardari tribe originally belongs to the Jat clan living in Sindh and Balochistan who depend upon camels for their living.
Further, most Zardaris call themselves Baloch.
Other sub-castes of the Jat community living in Sindh include the Lasharis, Zuhranis, Malkanis, Lanjwanis, Pahores and Kalwars, among others.
“There are many other clans of the Jat community, but Asif Ali Zardari has been nominated as chieftain of the Zardari tribe,” said Ziaul Hassan Lanjar, special assistant to the chief minister who is close to the Zardari family of Benazirabad.
In a private gathering, the PPP co-chairperson dub himself as samat — people who originally belong to Sindh.
He once said, “This is our 24th generation in Sindh. The mazar of Balo Faqeer Zardari in Nawabshah can give evidence of our relations with this land,” he said, while referring to the tomb of his great grandfather Bilawal Faqeer Zardari whom Bilawal name is given to PPP chairperson Bilawal Bhutto Zardari.