Bilawal Bhutto Zardari. — File photo
LAHORE: Now eligible to contest general election after turning 25 on Saturday (today), PPP patron-in-chief Bilawal Bhutto is reportedly keen to jump into the political arena unlike his father and former president Asif Ali Zardari’s statement that the scion of the Bhuttos is more interested in following higher studies at present.
But the million dollar question is whether he will be able or allowed to run the party after formally entering the political arena?
Bilawal has completed his graduation (honours) in Contemporary History and International Politics from the Oxford University. These days he is learning the Urdu and Sindhi languages and spends his time in London, Dubai and Karachi.
The PPP has given no timeframe when Bilawal would take the party’s rein. Mr Zardari had told journalists the other day that his son wanted to pursue further studies before entering practical politics. However, Bilawal’s secretary Hasham Shiekh told Dawn on Friday that Mr Bilawal had completed his studies and at present he was keen to take part in active politics. “Mr Bilawal will fill the communication gap with the party workers in days to come,” he said.
Bilawal had not headed the May election campaign despite calls from the PPP candidates, especially in Punjab, to address their rallies triggering rumours that he had developed differences with his father and aunt Faryal Talpur over running the party affairs. The PPP quarters concerned had denied such reports.
Still some PPP leaders believe that Bilawal will have no role in politics and party affairs for another five years or so. “Mr Zardari will run the party and Bilawal will be groomed further,” a PPP leader from central Punjab told Dawn.
He said security issues would remain one of the main hurdles in the way of Bilawal to take part in active politics in Pakistan. “It will not be a good idea to remain in contact with some workers sitting in Dubai and London. Bilawal’s advisers should not keep him away from the workers as it will not work at the end of the day,” he said.
PPP Secretary-General Sardar Latif Khosa believes till next general election Mr Bilawal would play an important role in strengthening the party’s youth and human rights wings and meanwhile Mr Zardari would effectively run the party affairs.
Although Mr Zardari wanted Bhaktawar and Assefa to support their brother in politics but there are reports that Assefa Bhutto is also being politically groomed by her father and she may be a possible replacement of Bilawal if by some reasons he refuses or not allowed to run the party in the future.
Hasham Riaz dismisses this perception saying Mr Zardari wanted Bilawal to lead the party in future.
Bilawal will celebrate his 25 birthday in Dubai. Although the Bilawal House in Lahore has announced that he will address the workers through a video-link at the residence of Sardar Latif Khosa on Saturday, his secretary says he has no such plan.