For the People’s Party, Bilawal Bhutto Zardari is an avatar of his late mother. And they think he can pull crowds like she did in the mid-1980s. Critics of the party disagree.
Seven years ago, on October 18, 2007, Taliban militants welcomed Benazir Bhutto – who had just arrived in Karachi – with a twin suicide bomb attack that killed 176 people. Before the explosions, the rally was reminiscent of her 1986 homecoming. She survived the attack only to fall victim to another gun and suicide bomb attack two months later.
Her son picked the sixth anniversary of the Karsaz attack in Karachi to pay homage to his slain mother and those who died for her cause. But he did not stop at that.
Bilawal challenged the Taliban once again. In what seemed like a bold display of overconfidence, he declared jihad against the “hijackers of faith”. Along with his father, former President Asif Ali Zardari, Bilawal is on the hit list of Taliban militants.
In seemingly unrelated verbal attacks, he also grilled his political opponents. Mocking at the ruling Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz’s electoral symbol, he said he would hunt down the “blood-thirsty” lion.
In a direct criticism of Altaf Hussain’s control over the Muttahida Quami Movemnt (MQM), he said Karachi was still “a colony of London”. He also promised to “rescue the people of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa from the tsunami”.
[quote]He declared jihad against the Taliban [/quote]
“It was a speech of an immature mind, not something expected from a statesman,” said political analyst Zahid Hussain. With its popularity reaching new lows, the PPP needs much more than occasional fiery speeches, he said.
Bilawal was an obvious choice as the successor of Benazir Bhutto. He was young, passionate and many saw in him a glimpse of his grandfather Zulfikar Ali Bhutto. But it was too much to expect from a 20-year-old boy with no firsthand political experience or knowledge of the ground realities of Pakistan.
He had lost his mother in a sudden tragedy. His mother had lost her father in a conspiracy spanning over several years. He rose to the co-chairman of the party riding a sympathy wave after Benazir’s assassination. His mother languished in jail for long painful months after hearing the last words of her father: “Until we meet again.” She had to leave the country, but came back in style and overturned the chessboard.
“It is unfair to compare Bilawal with his late mother,” said Hussain. “She strived for a long time until she became the party’s chairwoman. She commanded respect instead of demanding respect.” Bilawal has not had her experiences. Zahid Hussain said he should rebuild his party that seems to have fallen into disarray, instead of bashing his political rivals.
Bilawal’s granduncle Mumtaz Bhutto agreed. He said the young leader’s verbal attacks on his opponents were a poor tactic to save the PPP’s drowning boat. “People are done with hearing about the sacrifices made in the past,” he said. “It is history. The memories of Bhutto and Benazir will not save the party. People want result-oriented practical politics.”
The young PPP co-chairman has offered himself for scathing criticism from the media as well. It is difficult to reckon whether the party lost more friends or made more enemies among the media hacks in the last five years.
Veteran columnist Nazir Naji made an interesting comparison of the Bhutto and Nehru dynasties, more specifically between Bilawal Bhutto Zardari and Rahul Gandhi. The young Gandhi learned the art of politics sitting on the backbenches in the Indian parliament. “He is still not a surefire candidate for premier in the coming general elections.” Bilawal has never been a parliamentarian, but is still being pitched as a candidate for opposition leader, and eventually the prime minister.
Makhdoom Shahabuddin, the party’s South Punjab president, announced recently that the young Bhutto could contest by-elections and assume the coveted office of the opposition leader.
“Instead of becoming a cheerleader,” Naji said, “Bilawal must emerge as a statesman. That requires time, hard work and patience.”
For someone who hasn’t lived in Pakistan, its a joke to think of becoming Pakistan’s leader. Notwithstanding the critics of PPP and Bhutto’s, atleast his ancestors had lived in Pakistan and learnt Politics the hard-way especially is maternal Grandfather, Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto lived in Larkana and managed his lands alongwith the Political Rivalry’s with the Khuro’s. He was a Barrister and had studied hard. Same hold’s true for his mother, who like her father went to jail and suffered at the hands of establishment.
And what has this kid faced but to be surrounded by Sycophants who have nothing but their own axes to grind. He know’s nothing about Pakistan except thinking that it is his God-given fiefdom. Pakistan is nobody’s jagir and we the common people of Pakistan have to prove this by voting for enlightened people rather then voting with our feet.
“it was a speech of an immature mind. Not the statement of a statesman”
That assumes that Pakistan actually had a Statesman amongs the leaders of yesterday and today. Like who for example ? Who?