Herald exclusive: The diary of Bilawal Bhutto Zardari

Published November 5, 2014
I think it’s important to keep an eye on the competition. Who is this Imran Khan guy anyway?
I think it’s important to keep an eye on the competition. Who is this Imran Khan guy anyway?

Monday

Dear diary, a lot of people criticise me just for being Benazir’s son. They say I shouldn’t be in politics, that it’s wrong. I don’t understand what they want me to do, join the army? People have expectations from me. Like father. He recently asked me if I wanted to lead the party. I said sure, that sounds like fun, we can get confetti and make paper lanterns and…but he cut me short by saying, good, we’ll need a rally.

Tuesday

Father sent somebody to wake me up at eight in the morning. I kept saying I don’t want to go to school today, but apparently it was only a meeting with Sherry Aunty. She was meant to coach me on Urdu enunciation, but who was going to coach her?

We tried Qaim Uncle but he only knew the languages they spoke in prehistoric Sindh.

I told them its fine; my mother struggled to speak Urdu. Quaid-e-Azam struggled to speak Urdu. Altaf Hussain can speak the language, but people wish he struggled to speak Urdu. It’s not a big deal.

Wednesday

I’ve been practicing my speech and sending recordings to friends over Whatsapp. A lot of them seem to have changed their numbers recently as they reply with, ‘If anyone asks, I don’t know you’.

I think it’s important to keep an eye on the competition. Who is this Imran Khan guy anyway? Apparently he won some crickets in the 1990s? I hope he put them in a jar. He calls himself a leader of the youth but he’s older than my father. Then there’s that guy always on stage with him who used to work for us, Shahji they called him. He always sounded like he was blowing his nose into a tissue paper.

Thursday

Gave a press conference in preparation for Saturday. Got a bit misquoted in the papers. What I was saying was that we will free India from Kashmir. Look at the amount of military spending going down the drain up there, stationing thousands of personnel, fencing borders, making crackdowns, Pakistan spends a fraction of that, we just buy guns for the Maulvis. It’s not fair.

I finished the conference with the traditional Sindhi slogan. Uncle Qaim was chanting along but I think he got the words mixed up. He was shouting, “Mersoon, mersoon, seat na desoon”.

Met the president of the Bilawal Lovers Organisation afterwards. Was unsure about shaking his hand, told him that’s a really creepy name. Asked father why he couldn’t have come up with something less suggestive.

“Oh, I’m not a member,” he replied.

Friday

Last meeting before the big day. It’s just so good seeing all this young and invigorating leadership in the party, like Rehman Malik, Yousaf Raza Gilani, and Meter Sha…I mean, Khursheed Shah. Of course the old heads like Qaim Uncle are invaluable for their years…decades…centuries of experience. He often tells me stories from the time when Muhammad bin Qasim defeated Raja Dahir. It was the first time Qaim Uncle had seen catapults.

In the evening, I take out some me time and think back to the wonderful childhood memories with mother. The people’s adulations, going to school with my sisters. We got pocket money for food and sweets every day. Of course 10 per cent of that would go to father, but still.

Saturday

Gave a roaring address to a massive crowd. No one is as spirited as the Jiyalas. They listened to every word I said, which was a welcome change from the party meetings. At the end I waved and smiled at them, father has always told me to be nice to the workers; they paid for my Oxford degree.

But did people see? Did you see, PTI? You’re not winning the popularity contest; you’re just winning the most money thrown into campaigning contest. When it comes to getting people out on the streets at night, we can do it too, although I fear both of us might lose to Wapda in that department.

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