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Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari

Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari

Bilawal's first chance

By Sohail Sangi

Ever since becoming party head in 2012, Bilawal has been asserting in his speeches that his is a progressive party, a way forward. He repeatedly talks up the need to continue his mother’s mission to serve the people.

Bhutto supporters and PPP voters took Bilawal as a new star, expecting him to strive for a direct connection with them and venture into populist activities. They also expected that he would have his own chosen team as his mother did by freeing herself from party ‘uncles’.

Bilawal also claimed he would play a greater role in his party. But that miracle is yet to happen.

In his talk, he is bold, progressive and pro people. But I was informed that he is facing an internal conflict: whether to follow his mother and his grandfather’s legacies, or practical politics like his father. Bilawal has not come out of his father’s political shadow, and maybe he does not want to.

So is he the party head in name only while decisions are made by his father who is actually running the show?

Yet to rise as an independent leader, Bilawal has no personal following even after six years as chairman; whatever he has is because of his mother’s and grandfather’s legacy.

Lack of personal experience, plus having no sway in nominating party candidates, he will not be in a position to play a meaningful role in the post-election landscape.

A hung parliament is anticipated, hence politics of manipulation and manoeuvring in post-election scenario, which is the domain of his father.

This will be first time Bilawal will get a chance to enter parliamentary politics. In case the PPP opts for opposition, he will have a good opportunity to gain experience and political maturity.

His rivals call him a poster boy for the PPP with nothing to show for his claims. They say he speaks well, but will he walk the talk?

Key stances