Pakistan foreign minister bags attention on India trip- Accessories and style have media swooning, but is Hina Rabbani Khar really in charge of policy on Kashmir?
Declan Walsh in Lahore guardian.co.uk, Friday 29 July 2011 18.28 BST
Rarely has a Birkin brought so much attention. When Pakistan's new foreign minister, 34-year-old Hina Rabbani Khar, landed in India for talks this week, a media frenzy erupted around her style: the pearl necklaces, elegant costumes, Cavalli sunglasses and a stylish Hermes-made Birkin bag worth at least $9,000 (£5,500).
Khar's glamorous turn triggered a media swoon and became the buzz of the subcontinental chattering class. "Pakistan puts on its best face," read the Times of India headline; "Pakistan bomb lands in India," quipped the Mumbai Mirror.
The minister entered the lexicon of celebrity initials: "HRK" started to trend on Twitter – one letter off Bollywood's leading heart-throb SRK, or Shah Rukh Khan. Back in Pakistan, though, opinion was divided amid arguments about sexism, dynastic politics and the propriety of carrying a pricey handbag.
On a flight to Islamabad on Friday, Khar flicked through a stack of newspapers filled with her picture. "You don't want the attention to focus on the frivolous," she said. "A guy in my place would never get such attention; nobody would be talking about his suit. I refuse to be apologetic about it; I will continue to be who I am."
For all the frivolity, the trip was an auspicious start to a notoriously tricky job. Claims of a "new era" in relations seemed premature, but Khar broke the ice with her elderly Indian counterpart, SM Krishna, and negotiated several concrete measures to boost cross-border trade in the disputed territory of Kashmir.
clcik here to read more: Indo- Pak Kashmir Policy