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Baby Bhutto and Daddy Dearest

Published Apr 03, 2013 01:58pm

The assumption that the father and son had a major tiff is wrong. Not because they did not have a tiff, but because this is exactly what the father wanted to portray. Zardari succeeded in sending him away and making a major news out of it while his own recent visit to Dubai in order to lure him back is another stunt. Bilawal's absence in the coming election campaign will prove that.

Bilawal's decision to move to Pakistan to be a political leader took Zardari by surprise since he hadn't planned that for him yet. Still, except for a few security cautions, he let baby Bhutto proceed with his passion. The incident is well known, where Bilawal refused to share Bhutto's death anniversary speech with his father and the advisors, which was again something that was glorified instead of it being supressed from the media.

Afterwards, when Bilawal took charge of the ticket distribution, he actually went through the tedious trouble of making performance evaluation sheets of all members of national and provincial assemblies. One of the people helping him in doing all this was Faisal Raza Abidi. A couple of months ago, he also stated that PPPP will give 70 per cent tickets to the people with a clean record.

Everything was going just fine till the time the tickets had to be awarded and the launching of the campaign in earnest. Zardari had to do what was necessary; instead of letting the idealist Bilawal take charge, he kept him away from the filthy business that politics has been in the Islamic Republic. Clean record of ticket holders was Bilawal's major concern. Bilawal's clean record is what Zardai needs for the next time around and not for these upcoming elections.

Zardari has proven time and again that he just doesn't luckily survive every tide of the ocean that comes his way but he actually has a surfers' guide developed by himself alone. With all the bad governance and corruption in this tenure, Zardari knows using Bilawal card is not the best bet. (This does not mean necessarily PPPP will crash unceremoniously as most are predicting).

The criteria for awarding tickets in almost all constituencies was really different. People like Asif Hashmi who couldn't win a seat in 2008 elections have been awarded two tickets. He as chairman Matrooka Waqf Imlaaq had allegedly sold Gurdwara's trust property to DHA. What Fehmida Mirza did on her last day in the assembly was her qualifying certificate for the Badeen ticket. And the list for the women reserved seats sent by Phuppo didn't have Farzana Raja's name in the Top 10. When dear daddy got to know about it or, maybe when Farzana got to know, she offered the president election fund from the corruption in BISP and made Zardari promptly change the list.

That's why I believe, Addi and Muzafar Tappi are not as vital as people believe they are. Their decisions are neither unchangeable nor necessarily their own. They take guidance from the master planner too which in people party's case isn't God. It was really easy for Zardari to bring Bilawal back if he wanted to. All he was supposed to do was to reverse some decisions taken by Addi on Bilawal's request and convince Bilawal to compromise on some. He doesn't need 124 seats. He needs just enough to play a part in a coalition formation and retain his presidency. Every seat PTI wins, will make PPP stronger as PTI refuses to have anything to do with the main players. Do you think PPPP hasn't started their election campaign because of TTP threat? ‘ Tis not so … they haven't yet felt the need to.

I doubt any party will be able to form a government without nominating Zardari for the next term as president. I also doubt if they will be able to retain their government for five years. In case they do, Zardari will prove to be no friendly opposition ... in fact a hot coal. The next elections will be ripe for Bilawal to harvest the crop sown by daddy dearest and to ask people to honour his mom's blood.

This reminds me of the meeting BB called in Dubai before signing NRO. She asked all the CEC members if she should sign the NRO with Gen. Musharraf. Most of the party had the feeling that she wanted to and, therefore, nobody resisted the deal. In fact they appreciated it. The only person who went against the idea was Shah Mehmood Qureshi and he said that PPPP will suffer from the stigma of signing the deal with a general for all times to come. BB asked him if he believed they could win the 2008 elections without her being in Pakistan to which he replied in the negative. With this BB clinched the issue though Shah Mehmood soon after coming out of the room confided to his mates that BB had forgotten one option of coming to Pakistan and offering her arrest.

This is the time when the media went berserk saying it was a deal and Zardari held a press conference from Dubai when he uttered the golden words ''deal nahin dialogue''. The new Peoples Party might not be the best thing to ever have happened but that was inevitable. When you suppress somebody for too long, you unknowingly create an apparition bigger than the local exorcists can get rid off.

As I write this, I've read in leading newspapers that Bilawal is expected to take part in the function observing Bhutto's death anniversary. This is more of a family affair than an election campaign, which his father will like him to miss this time. Bilawal's inclination towards his grandfather's agenda will be used to greater effect by Zardai at the right time.


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The writer is a member of the band Beygairat Brigade


The views expressed by this blogger and in the following reader comments do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of the Dawn Media Group.