KARACHI: The Chief of the Pakistan People’s Party Bilawal Bhutto would not be present in Pakistan on Election Day. He has already left the country and would not be addressing any party rallies or meetings due to security threats to his life, his party sources told Dawn.com on Friday.

Central party leader Taj Haider also confirmed that consensus had been reached in the party and that, in the wake of serious threats to Bilawal’s life, the party has advised him not to lead the election campaign in person.

“We have already lost Benazir Bhutto and will not risk losing Bilawal. The threats to his life are very real,” he said.

Haider would not say where the party chief was at the moment. However, sources in the party said that he had left Pakistan earlier this week and would not be returning to the country before May 11, the Election Day.

The young scion of the influential Bhutto family and son of President Asif Ali Zardari, Bilawal said in a video message released April 23 that he would assist in the party’s election campaign but not lead it.

“I wanted to contest polls living amongst you; I wanted to launch the election campaign in the streets of my country alongside my workers…but we are at war against (a) mindset,” Bilawal told party workers in the video marking the launch of the PPP’s election campaign.

“The murderers of Quaid-e-Awam and Benazir Bhutto Shaheed now want to eliminate us as well.” Party leaders had earlier said the PPP chief would lead the campaign through a video link because of threats to his life.

Pakistan has witnessed a surge in violence targeted at election campaigns and rallies in the run-up to the May 11 polls.

On Friday, Taliban gunmen shot dead an ANP candidate in Karachi for NA-254 seat, Sadiq Zaman Khattak, along with his three-year-old son.

The outlawed Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) militant group has announced it would target the PPP, Awami National Party (ANP) and the Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) due to their secular views.

- With reporting by Asif Mahmood in Karachi.

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Comments (7) (Closed)

May 03, 2013 08:19pm

An epitome of a brave leader!

May 03, 2013 08:28pm

Here i was thinking this is the "PEOPLES" party that bhuto made but apparently. they are conceren about there safty when 100's of every day people are dieing and getting killed there are no concern about them and for there family. All political parties very about there own family and there safty and how to get the seat and start building there bank accounts to hell with people who cares...AMAZING.....people still go and vote for these type of parties..

May 03, 2013 09:17pm

Great news. Thanks to ALLAH.

May 03, 2013 09:20pm

Great news. Thanks to ALLAH

May 03, 2013 11:35pm

Pakistan has lost its values...the next gen is least bothered..there is no silver bullet for this country to come back...its going to take atleast 2 decades to see any form of concrete improvement..Pak should be first become self-sustainable economically before it can bring about changes in the moral world. They should free themselves from external influencers, focus on building their primary and secondary industries, educate people (grounds up) and may be this will help play a positive role 2 decades later...

Saad Durrani
May 04, 2013 03:35am

So much for being a leader! His mother was very brave lady, I must say.

Bilawal, find a day job.

N K Ali
May 04, 2013 11:19am

Bilawal...this is the time to make something of your life rather than say, "I want to serve the poor." We all know this is not carrying the meaning as it must but is more farcical than ever. History is witness. Albeit you are the nominated PPP Chairperson, you do not have the 'de jure' right to be the chief. You will appreciate that 'The Divine Right of Kings' never held good. The next chief must be democratically elected without 'fear or favor' by your party's members. If you must, then go up via the ladder instead of the 'silver spoon.' Once again, make something of your life. Salams