Here's why Bakhtawar Bhutto-Zardari's engagement invitation is special

Here's why Bakhtawar Bhutto-Zardari's engagement invitation is special

The card features a nod to one of the most talked-about weddings in the country: Benazir Bhutto and Asif Ali Zardari's.
Updated 16 Nov, 2020

Celebrity weddings are always highly anticipated — but a wedding in one of Pakistan's most famous political dynasties kicks up the excitement a notch further.

The most recent such announcement has come from the PPP camp (no, it's not Bilawal who has been asked the marriage question multiple times); the party on Saturday formally announced that Bakhtawar Bhutto-Zardari, daughter of former prime minister Benazir Bhutto and former president Asif Ali Zardari, is set to be engaged.

Here's what we know so far: Bakhtawar's beau is Mahmood Chaudhry, the engagement will take place at Bilawal House in Karachi, and the couple's Mehndi, scheduled for January 27, 2021, is also expected to be held at the same venue — and all attendees have been requested to email a scanned copy of their negative Covid-19 PCR test result 24 hours prior to the event.

But what caught our eye the most was the engagement's invitation card, which features a picture of Bakhtawar's parents on their wedding day. The late Benazir and her husband Zardari, both decked in white, are seen sharing a light moment on the day.

The wedding was anything anyone could talk about at the time. The Nikah ceremony took place amidst a huge crowd; it could easily be mistaken for a huge public meeting. Zardari's gift for Benazir was a heart-shaped ring, studded with diamonds and sapphires.

Benazir Bhutto waves to the crowd from the stage at her wedding celebrations held in Karachi’s Lyari area (1987).
Benazir Bhutto waves to the crowd from the stage at her wedding celebrations held in Karachi’s Lyari area (1987).

The announcement of Bakhtawar's nuptials has us going down memory lane and with the help of an article from Dawn's archives, revisiting one of the most talked-about weddings in the country.

The proposal

It all began in London almost a year before the marriage. On July 29, 1987, Begum Nusrat Bhutto received a formal proposal by Zardari for Benazir Bhutto, led by Zardari’s stepmother, Begum Zarin. Zardari was studying at the London School of Economics and intended to take up a housing business after completing his studies.

While in London, he occasionally visited Begum Nusrat Bhutto during Benazir’s exile days; during these visits, Zardari earned Begum Bhutto’s confidence.

Begum Bhutto clearly told the Zardari family that since Benazir was in politics, she would continue doing so and no hurdles should ever be created for her. Once the proposal was accepted, there was no hassle for the ceremony. Benazir asked her mother not to arrange dowry. When the probable date for marriage was fixed, Benazir asked to postpone it because of violence in Karachi. The date was then fixed to Dec 17, 1987.

An arranged marriage

According to Benazir, she was introduced to Asif Ali Zardari only five days before agreeing to the proposal.

On Feb 17, 1987, a huge marriage ceremony was organised in Karachi that bound two influential families of the country into a relationship. Benazir Bhutto had married Asif Ali Zardari, son of Hakim Ali Zardari, a businessman and landowner.

Benazir wanted to make it a historic event. That is why she refused to make it an occasion of a few people gathered in a five-star hotel. Kikri Ground in the heart of Karachi’s PPP stronghold of Lyari was selected. There were no formal invitations while members from both families as well as party supporters attended the occasion in their numbers.

The dress

Benazir was clad in a white silk tunic with gold embroidery and Zardari wore a traditional Baloch turban and cream-colour traditional trousers.

According to a post on social media by designer Faiza Samee, the ensemble was based on "an old Art Deco-inspired saari of Lady Haroon (Begum Nusrat Khanum) made in Bombay during the 1930s".

A photo posted by Instagram (@instagram) on

"It featured 'Douk Ka Kaam' which is raised metallic embroidery and the perforations in the border were adorned with 'Katab ka Kaam' much alike Nottingham lace, this effect was created by weaving tilla into the very lattice of textile itself."

Whether any of Bakhtawar's dresses will include a nod to her late mother's attire is something we'll just have to wait and find out.


Dr. Salaria, Aamir Ahmad Nov 15, 2020 12:07pm
No doubt, marriages are made in the heavens.
Chrís Dăn Nov 15, 2020 12:28pm
It is a covid19 serious period and economy is severally hit in Sindh. Poor people are starving. How if Zardari family donates the marriage expenditure amount for poor people in Sindh and have a simply ceremony. In any case we are a poor country surviving on international loans.
shahid zaman Nov 15, 2020 12:54pm
Who cares?
M. Emad Nov 15, 2020 01:33pm
Bilawal Bhutto ? Fatima Bhutto ?
Jay Nov 15, 2020 05:07pm
People of Pakistan get ready to pay for this wedding.
MONIER Nov 15, 2020 05:08pm
Zardari has good number supporters in US who he has helped financially to run businesses. This marriage fits well with his long term plans for his family.
NACParis Nov 15, 2020 06:46pm
Wish them well. Zardari will not regret with a marriage in punjabi khandhan.
Akhter Nov 15, 2020 10:35pm
A PR attempt to gain sympathy?
Asif Nov 15, 2020 10:46pm
@Chrís Dăn There can be some other ways to support the poor.
Amir Nov 15, 2020 11:03pm
if they are the real people's party, the amount of extravagance could be in billions, planned to spent on the engagement can be donated to the poor people of Sindh. For education and health.
Sab Se Pehle Pakistan Nov 15, 2020 11:55pm
Rao Anwar will be chief guest.
Syed Hafeez Imran Nov 16, 2020 12:46am
@Chrís Dăn great thought , but it will NOT happen
A Sheikh Nov 16, 2020 02:19am
@Chrís Dăn Very nice thought, but if these people were so conscientious, they wouldn't loot public money in the first place.
A Sheikh Nov 16, 2020 02:21am
@shahid zaman This is called Public Private Partnership (PPP). Looting Public money and spending on Private engagements.
Sam Biswas Nov 16, 2020 04:52am
Sadly, if Benazir were alive and at the helm of Pakistan, I think Pak-India relation would be very different.
Sab Se Pehle Pakistan Nov 16, 2020 10:42am
This will strengthen the bond between PPP and PML-N.
Junaid Nov 16, 2020 05:48pm
@Chrís Dăn if they did their job no one would need their donations. They have built all their wealth by stealing from masses.