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Benazir Bhutto and Asif Ali Zardari Marriage Profile

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Benazir Bhutto's arranged marriage to Asif Zardari in 1987 surprised many people. Their marriage endured separation due to Asif's imprisonment and separation due to Benazir's politics. Their marriage ended when Benazir was assassinated on December 27, 2007.

Here is information about their arranged marriage, how they met, their wedding, children, and more.

News Updates:

9/6/08: "The widower [Asif Ali Zardari] of slain former leader Benazir Bhutto will succeed Pervez Musharraf as president of Pakistan after winning a landslide victory in Saturday's election."
Source: MSNBC.msn.com

Born:

Benazir Bhutto: June 21, 1953 in Karachi, Pakistan.

Asif Ali Zardari: July 21, 1953 in Pakistan.

Died:

Benazir Bhutto: December 27, 2007 in Rawalpindi, Pakistan. Benazir Bhutto was 54 years old when she was assassinated in a combined shooting and bombing attack while she was attending a rally.

Bhutto / Zardari Arranged Marriage:

In Pakistan, there is more respect given to married women than to single women. Additionally, a single woman would not be allowed to be head of state. This reality helped Benazir make the decision to agree to an arranged marriage.

After their arranged marriage was announced on July 29, 1987, Asif sent Benazir roses every day and gave her a heartshaped ring of diamonds and sapphires. Benazir had met Asif five days before the public announcement of their planned winter wedding.

An Almost Traditional Wedding:

On December 18, 1987, at the Clifton Palace garden in Karachi, Pakistan, Benazir and Asif had an almost traditional Pakistani wedding.

Concerned about how some of the Pakistani wedding traditions were extravagant and difficult for poor families, Benazir broke with tradition by trying to keep their wedding simple. She eliminated the dowry, had only two shalwar kameez instead of the traditional nearly 51 dresses and wore only one layer of jewelry.

Benazir wore a white silk tunic with gold-embroidery. Asif wore a turban and a cream-colored tunic.
Bhutto / Zardari Wedding Photo

Asif and Benazir and their families had several days of celebration. The couple said "yes" three times, and at their wedding ceremony Benazir and Asif looked into a mirror together so they could see themselves as a married couple for the first time. Sugar was ground over their heads so their lives would be sweet.

Although their wedding ceremony was small and private, in the streets after their wedding there were 100,000 political supporters dancing, singing, firing guns in the air, and enjoying fireworks.

Children:

Asif and Benazir have a son and two daughters.

 

 

  • Bilawal: He was born in September 1988. After the death of his mother, Benazir, Bilawal was appointed co-chairman with his father, Asif, of the Pakistan People's Party (PPP).
  • Bakhtwar:
  • Aseefa:

Occupations:

Benazir: Former Prime Minister of Pakistan.

Asif Ali Zardari: Businessman, building contractor, Member of National Assembly and Senator, member of The Zardari Four polo team.

 

Residences:

Bhutto and Zardari had a mansion with nine bedrooms on 355 acress in Rockwood, England. The home also had an indoor swimming pool, a helicopter landing pad, and 15 acres of gardens.

They also had a home in Dubai.

 

Quotes About Their Marriage:

Benazir's announcement of her arranged marriage: “Conscious of my religious obligations and duty to my family, I am pleased to proceed with the marriage proposal accepted by my mother.”
Source: Christina Lamb, "My 20-year friendship with Benazir Bhutto began at her wedding", TimesOnLine.co.uk, 10/21/2007.

Benazir about deciding to have an arranged marriage: "In a Moslem society, it's not done for women and men to meet each other, so it's very difficult to get to know each other, and, my being the leader of the largest opposition party in Pakistan, it would have been a lot of rumor to the grist and bad for the image if I had chosen another course."
Source: Howell Raines, "Benazir Bhutto to Marry, in a Pact by 2 Families", NYTimes.com, 07/31/1987.

Benazir about meeting Asif: "I did meet him, and because I felt he's nice and had a sense of humor and he seemed to be a tolerant person in that he could handle having a wife who had an independent career of her own, I thought it was wise to accept the proposal."
Source: Howell Raines, "Benazir Bhutto to Marry, in a Pact by 2 Families", NYTimes.com, 07/31/1987.

Benazir about not being free to marry for love: "For me the choice was not between a love marriage or an arranged marriage but between agreeing to this or not getting married at all ... An arranged marriage may seem traditional, but what is not traditional is the fact I'm not abandoning my identity or my career. If I had thought it might hurt my political career, I know I would never have taken this step. I would never have gotten married at any stage. I would have never sought personal happiness at the cost of my country. If people have given their lives for the cause of freedom and constitutional rule, then I surely could have sacrificed marriage and children."
Source: Tyler Marshall, "Political Maverick Bows to Muslim custom", Los Angeles Times, 08/07/1987.

Benazir on love and marriage: "I was always told by my elders that love comes after a marriage. In an arranged marriage, there is a mental commitment. You know that you are marrying somebody and he is going to be a part of your life forever. It's a very strange kind of mental journey, which I have not read about or heard about, but feel my own self experiencing."
Source: Steven R. Weisman, "The Bride Wore White -- 100,000 Sang Slogans", New York Times, 12/19/1987.

Benazir on keeping her own name: "Benazir Bhutto doesn't cease to exist the moment she marries; she's the same person. I am keeping my own name."
Source: "Joyous Pandemonium Erups Bhutto Weds Man Chosen for Her by Her Mother", Los Angeles Times, 12/18/1987.

Asif on not leaving her and then being imprisoned: "I cannot abandon my wife and children. I would rather die than abandon all of you."
Source: Claudia Dreifus, "Real-Live Dynasty; Benazir Bhutto", NYTimes.com, 05/15, 1994.

More Quotes about the Bhutto / Zardari Marriage

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