KARACHI: After various attempts to launch Bhutto scion, Bilawal Bhutto Zardari, the Pakistan Peoples Party is considering bringing the second in line, Bakhtawar Bhutto to the helm of party affairs.
Party sources told The Express Tribune, Benazir Bhutto and Asif Ali Zardari’s second child is being groomed to take part in ‘real’ politics. Bakhtawar has started taking part in political activities and senior women activists have been asked to train her.
“All of Benazir Bhutto and Asif Ali Zardari's children will take part in active politics, but the date and time will be decided by the party,” the source claimed.
Further, the source added, “Bilawal has already started his political career. I can only speculate about others, but the party would make a decision on the matter soon.”
It is widely believed that Bakhtwar will be formally launched into active politics on the 36th death anniversary of Zulfikar Ali Bhutto.
“Asif Ali Zardari would make an important announcement on the occasion,” PPP secretary information Sindh chapter Waqar Mehdi, while speaking to The Express Tribune.
Bilawal has refused to attend the Bhutto’s death anniversary, one of the mega events for the party, to be held on April 4, in Garhi Khuda Bux.
Read: Bilawal to skip Zulfikar Ali Bhutto's death anniversary event in Garhi Khuda Bux
Speaking at Lyari
In a rare move on Monday, Bakhtawar addressed a ceremony in Bilawal House and was seen distributing compensation cheques among victim families of two separate bomb blasts in Football Ground and Kumbharwara Chowk, Lyari in 2013.
A large number of PPP jiyalas were present at the ceremony, including Sindh Chief Minister Qaim Ali Shah and MNA Faryal Talpur, which witnessed Bakhtawar distribute cheques and address the crowd.
Welcomed to applause and emotional slogans, Bakhtawar Bhutto Zardari speaking on the occasion said, “I cherish Lyari like Larkana and consider happiness and pain of people of Lyari as my own.”
“Lyari has remained a citadel of PPP ever since its foundation. I know how much my mother and grand father loved you,” she added.
Families of eleven martyrs, including eight of Football Ground blast and three of Kalakot blast were paid Rs500,000 each while 65 injured of both incidents were given Rs100,000 each.
Sindh Assembly speaker Agha Siraj Durrani, Senator Saeed Ghani, Provincial Minister Javed Nagori, MPA Sania Naz, co-ordinator to Sindh CM Nadia Gabol, special assistants to chief minister Waqar Mehdi and Rashid Rabbani, and Najmi Alam were also present at the occasion.
Uncertainty around Bilawal
The PPP leaders expressed uncertainty regarding Bilawal’s participation at his grandfather’s death anniversary.
Bilawal officially launched his political career in October 2014, telling hundreds of thousands of supporters at a rally in Karachi he would fight for the revival of PPP.
While the PPP relies on the Bhutto name and legacy to bind its supporters, party insiders say Bilawal has little future without the political expertise of his father.
Read: Bilawal: Scion of Bhutto dynasty struggles to shake off father's legacy
“The son realises he does not have his father’s experience. The father knows his son’s enthusiasm and energy is greater,” said a family friend, requesting anonymity as he was not authorised to speak to the media on the matter.
Bakhtawar and Bilawal’s grandfather, Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, died at the gallows, hanged in 1979 after being deposed in a military coup.
Their mother, Benazir Bhutto, was killed in a bomb and bullet attack in 2007, months after she returned to Pakistan from eight years in self-exile.
Benazir took over as the party chairperson in 1982, three years after her father's assassination. But the question remains, if Bakhtawar will be the next Benazir Bhutto.