Benazir Bhutto and Asif Zardari on the day of their Mehndi in December 1987.
“Despite all [her] protests, a single woman in a Muslim country could have a very difficult time. Realizing this, Nusrat Bhutto, an untraditional Muslim woman herself, had begun searching for a suitable husband for Benazir in 1985,” Libby Hughes wrote in her book Benazir Bhutto: From Prison to Prime Minister. “With the help of Benazir’s aunts, they chose a young man of Benazir’s age. He came from the Sindh province too, and was from a wealthy, landowning family. Asif Ali Zardari had studied at the London Centre of Economic and Political Studies and was very athletic, especially as a polo player. Asif had been brought to Benazir’s aunt’s house for inspection. Nusrat approved.”
But she did not speak to Benazir Bhutto because of the tragic death of Shahnawaz Bhutto soon after this meeting. It was only when Benazir went to England in July 1987 that she met Asif, on the insistence of her mother and aunt. They did not speak directly to each other.
But a few days later, writes Hughes, “At a social gathering, Benazir was stung by a bee. Asif insisted he drive her to the hospital. She was impressed with his caring, his sense of humor, and with his generous nature—many of the qualities her brothers had. Within seven days of their arranged meeting, Benazir agreed to become engaged to Asif Ali Zardari.”