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Hina Rabbani Khar’s Birkin Bag in Spotlight

Twitter is buzzing about the Pakistan Foreign Minister Hina Rabbain Khar’s first visit to India this week. But it’s not the India-Pakistan peace talks that have hogged their attention: It’s her black Hermès Birkin bag.

As soon as Ms. Khar touched down on Tuesday evening, her ensemble and accessories became the talk of fashion and media circles on both sides of the border. The Birkin black bag that Ms. Khar was seen carrying as she touched down at the Air Force station in New Delhi, remained one of the top trending items on Twitter on Thursday, a day after Ms. Khar met with her Indian counterpart, S.M. Krishna.

Bollywood actress Gul Panag tweeted, “I like the way Hina Rabbani looks. With her movie star sunglasses, head covered, Birkin in tow. May be she is brilliant too. Wish her luck.”

Her domestic audience seemed impressed too. The Sunday supplement of the Lahore-based Daily Times tweeted, “Khar is all about tasteful accessories-Roberto Cavalli sunglasses, over sized Hermes Birkin bag & classic pearl jewelry. Gorgeous.”

The bag, named after 1960s icon Jane Birkin, an English actress and singer, is sought after because it is available only on a limited basis, apparently through a legendary waiting list, apart from being very expensive (some say the waiting list no longer exists; others claim it never did). The Daily Mail puts the starting price for a basic version at nearly $7,000.

Some on Twitter made broader comments about Ms. Khar’s looks. Seema Goswami, a columnist for Brunch, the Hindustan Times Sunday magazine, observed, “I think the new foreign minister of Pak, Hina Rabbani Khar, is their weapon of mass distraction”

The tabloid Mumbai Mirror’s headline, “Pak Bomb Lands in India” also grabbed the attention of many amused and admiring Indian Twitter users.

More In Hina Rabbani Khar

  • Hermès Ventures Onto India’s Streets
  • Low Bar for India-Pakistan Talks
  • Pakistan-India Foreign Minister Age Gap? 45 Years
  • Pakistan Close to Naming First Female Foreign Minister

Fashion blogger Amara Javed tweeted, “Khar is more glamorous than Catherine Middleton. Take THAT world.”

But some weren’t so happy to see the bag. Sagarika Ghose, the deputy editor of CNN-IBN, said she thought the choice of accessories proved Ms. Khar was out of touch. She tweeted, “Hina Rabbani Khar is beautiful but obviously part of disconnected Pak elite.10 thou $ Hermes bag when country devastated? not the right note.”

It wasn’t just Ms. Khar’s bag that drew attention, though. From her blue tunic pants ensemble to her Roberto Cavalli shades, everything grabbed Indian eyeballs, with media coverage of her accessories practically overshadowing the India-Pakistan dialogue, and prompting some to note they found the reporting of Ms. Khar’s visit sexist.

“Hina Rabbani Khar story confirms belief women are great foreign ministers & reporting on female politicians is terrible,” tweeted Stephani Carvin, a London-based lecturer in international relations.


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