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Bilawal to contest 2018 elections from Benazir's home constituency

Updated September 15, 2014

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Pakistan Peoples Party Chairperson Bilawal Bhutto Zardari. — File photo/AFP
Pakistan Peoples Party Chairperson Bilawal Bhutto Zardari. — File photo/AFP

KARACHI: Chairperson of Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) Bilawal Bhutto Zardari announced on Monday his decision to take part in the 2018 general elections from late Benazir Bhutto's seat of Ratedero.

“I will start my parliamentary politics from my family seat during the next general elections,” Bilawal said to reporters at Bilawal House, days ahead of his 26th birthday on September 21.

Ratedero's NA-207 seat from Sindh is known to be PPP's stronghold, popularly known as late Benazir Bhutto's home constituency. Bilawal was 19 when he was named the chairperson of PPP, Pakistan’s largest political party.

Benazir Bhutto, twice elected prime minister, was killed in a gun and suicide attack after an election rally in Rawalpindi on December 27, 2007. No one has yet been convicted of her murder.

Read: Bilawal's dilemma

While the Bhutto scion had earlier distanced himself from politics, in an interview with BBC earlier this year Bilawal said that the assassination of his mother in 2007 changed things. He launched his political career on Benazir’s fifth death anniversary, in December 2012.

He said he had felt that the murder of Benazir would "wake the country up" — but that this awakening did not come. "I didn't choose... it chose me", he had said, referring to his involvement in politics.

He said he wanted to take on more responsibility in the PPP. "I never saw myself as being in politics," he said.

"Now I think it is time for me or there is the opportunity for me to start taking on more responsibility. But I will be focused more on party politics and working with every level of the party — I don't want to parachute my self in from the top. I want to work with the grassroots, with every level of the party across the country and my aim is the 2018 election."

At the launch of his political career, Bilawal's spokesperson Aijaz Durrani had said, “This is his political career’s first public meeting. A new Bhutto is emerging today in the shape of Bilawal who has vision of his mother and grandfather and people are excited on his launching,” he said."

“Bilawal Bhutto Zardari, following in the tradition of generations, will prove to be an important turning point for democracy and politics,” Prime Minister Raja Pervez Ashraf had said in a statement.

“This journey will continue forward.”