Baby Bhutto, his superman ajrak and the ‘cultural coup’… yeah right!

Published: January 24, 2014

Bilawal Bhutto spoke of sticking to the original cultural values of Sindh but I fail to understand how exactly can Sindhi culture be preserved by wearing a Superman t-shirt customised in Sindhi ajrak colours?

It was quite entertaining to watch Bilawal Bhutto speak of Sindhi culture, dressed up in a presidential style sherwani and speak in roman Urdu. The most amusing part of the ‘address’ was him putting all the blame on successive governments for the destruction of Sindhi heritage.

What Bilawal did not notice, or his speech writer probably overlooked, was the fact that Sindh has predominantly been ruled by his own political party, PPP, which for the record, hasn’t been able to carry out any development work in any of its strong holds in interior Sindh and has, instead, destroyed whatever little heritage was left.

The main powerhouses of the province of Sindh, Karachi and Hyderabad, were severely neglected under the PPP rule.

In fact, all the development witnessed in urban Sindh was during the tenure of President Pervez Musharraf led MQM-PML-Q coalition setup.

Bilawal spoke of preserving the Sindhi culture by announcing a cultural coup. These statements could only have been made by someone sitting comfortably in a fortress or thousands of miles away. He spoke of sticking to the original cultural values of Sindh.

On that note, what I fail to understand is how exactly the Superman t-shirt he is wearing, customised in Sindhi ajrak colours, going to preserve Sindhi culture?

Is there some new-age ‘burger culture’ on the rise that is replacing age old beauty and aesthetics?

Where is our exclusivity?

What message are we giving to the rest of the world about our distinct heritage?

His audience, a relatively backward yet extremely proud lot, will not be able to relate to him if he wears funky t-shirts and carries an ‘I’m too cool for school’ persona.

His grandfather, Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto (ZAB) was one of the finest leaders this country ever produced. ZAB interacted with his countrymen in an ‘awami’ way and the masses could relate to him and the love and respect they had for him is evident even today.

On the contrary, with such theatrics and comical bursts of childhood, Bilawal will certainly cause his grandpa’s legacy to take a nose dive and within no time the young Bhutto’s leadership qualities will be questioned within his own party tiers.

What needs to be done

What Bilawal needs to do is understand the actual values and norms of his province which he happens to visit once in a blue moon.

In order to create an impact, he will first have to recruit competent and sensible consultants and advisors who can groom him in accordance with the needs of the modern times besides striking a balance between rural and urban life styles. They can also guide him as to how he should carry himself as a politician, how he could relate to a common man in the villages and how he could mature in terms of issuing political statements.

The province of Sindh has a rich culture that needs to be preserved. Restoration of historical sites like Mohenjo-daro and Harappa, organising cultural weeks, discouraging the feudal mindset and promoting hard working farmers and skilled men and women from rural Sindh can genuinely strengthen the culture of this province.

What we witness in the name of cultural shows in Karachi is display of firearms and uncivilised young men from the villages roaming on the streets of Karachi, brandishing sophisticated weapons and shooting in the air at Sea View. This needs to be discouraged and rather more civilised ways of promoting culture should be adopted.

The culture of the province can best be promoted by turning Sindh into a tourist friendly province with the best possible site seeing facilities and tour setups.

For all of the above initiatives, the government of Sindh, led by Bilawal Bhutto, will first have to improve the law and order situation of the entire province.

A complete eradication of the ‘daaku’ (burglar) culture in interior Sindh, fighting against the feudal mindset, eliminating extremist pockets from the province, creating jobs and spreading the message of love and peace along with an environment of co-existence among the religions and castes are the first few steps that need to be taken.

Only then shall we expect true cultural promotion in the province, this time in a more systematic and civilised manner.

Arsalan Faruqi

Arsalan Faruqi

An entrepreneur with a degree in computer engineering and an MBA from IBA Karachi. He tweets as @arsalanfaruqi.

The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of The Express Tribune.

  • danish

    he is not a Bhutoo !!!!!!Recommend

  • Noman Ansari

    Man of Spiel?Recommend

  • Ali Z

    Its a shame that the Culture of Sindh is being represented by the logo of an american fictional super hero…I think he has already surrendered the cultureRecommend

  • Talha

    @Author: Could not agree with you more!! u just did not criticize but also gave a very insightful solution. Why people like you and i can not be leaders?
    Please write something on this too!

    Thanks PalRecommend

  • Me

    @ Ali Z very true just my thoughts exactly.Recommend

  • Ahmed

    Not that it matters at all in fact, but baby Bhutto? He is a baby Zardari, he cannot own the Bhutto name. It is the father’s name you own, not your mother’s. Failed, forced attempt at trying to benefit politically from the legacy and further fooling the people of Sindh.

    Now, the main point. Very well written. This guy is educated and young. He should be doing everything you mention at the end but it doesn’t surprise me to see him exhibiting the same feudal baggage he owns. And is naive enough to not understand the difference between trying to win over the educated segment of the society and perpetually fooling the uneducated farmers of Sindh!

    The less said about his cultural sensitivities the better! Mr. appears in a superman shirt in an effort to promote Sindhi culture?! I mean who are his advisers?! A young, educated man should know better! This is public space you are in, not a party with your mates. Very aptly described “comical bursts of childhood”.Recommend

  • IamPakistan

    Wait and watch what this son of sindh achieves in his life time!!! Dear author don’t criticize what you can’t understand! Long live Pakistan, long live Sindhi desh, long live bhuttoism!!!!lRecommend

  • Faraz Talat

    Gosh, I can feel the rage radiating out of my computer screen. Let me pull my chair back a few inches…

    I thought the Superman logo was a pretty solid gesture. I’m sorry you didn’t like it, but that’s your opinion.

    Also, the “Baby Bhutto” charge, and the constant accusations that he knows nothing about Pakistan (like a Sindhi John Snow) are getting rather cliched. That guy’s groomed to be a Pakistani politician, and has probably been briefed about the situation more than you think.

    What is displayed in this blog is a “Damned if you do, damned if you don’t” attitude, that the Sharifs too endured when they infamously launched the Metro service in Lahore. Would it have been better if Bilawal had not launched this campaign? Or would we have whined about the politicians’ inaction regarding the disintegration of our culture?

    He’s doing something. And promoting Sindhi arts and culture is as decent an objective as any. At least wait a couple of sun-moon cycles before launching a tirade against the predicted “uncivilized young men from villages roaming around the streets”.Recommend


    The most appropriate title would be BB Zardari.Recommend

  • Sara

    Please please please stop calling him bhutto! He is a Zardari ! From the great house of zardaris! Recommend

  • Waseem Sarwar

    last thing i would worry about.Recommend

  • Haris Javed

    Enough said!Recommend

  • Haris Javed

    Pearls of Wisdom for @NADYA V who recently dared
    “Five Great Reasons I will Vote for Bilawal Bhutto”Recommend

  • Khushbakht Vaka

    I think it is stupid to single out his “superman ajrak”, make fun of his accent (Roman Urdu!) and mock his call for cultural coup.

    To label his way of celebrating culture as “burger culture” is utterly offensive. The kid was raised and educated outside Pakistan. Ridiculing his accent and style is offensive and uncalled for.

    A leader is judged by what he does for the people when he is elected, not by his accent and ways.

    While the writer is correct about the “daaku culture” in interior Sindh, I would like to point out that urban Sindh is not daaku-free either. And everyone knows the forces behind the mafia and daaku culture in Karachi. MQM may have contributed to the development of urban Sindh (as the writer states). But it has also contributed to the sheer terror and mafia culture.

    “Baby Bhutto’s” speeches might be written by someone and he may be sitting “miles away in a fortress”. But I think he is far better a drunkard who issues terror statements from miles away that get his own party workers in trouble.Recommend

  • Malangee

    Nailed Bilow-well!!!Recommend

  • Shaan

    whaaat !!!Recommend

  • Parvez

    Your advice on what should be done was well intended but a waste as advice to the present leaders.
    The modus operandi from the days of ZAB upto today is……..keep the peoples stomach one quarter full but throw them a bone every now-and-then ( like… Sindhi Cultural week ) keeping in mind that the bottom line is to hold power becuause their gravy train depends on it.Recommend

  • Dr. Alam

    I like bilawal for his brave and clear views against terrorismand his words that mystic culture of Sindh is only solution to tackle growing extremism.Recommend

  • Guest

    Whaat !!!Recommend

  • Seemab

    reminds me
    of Chattur of 3 Idiots.. :DRecommend

  • RuralSindhi

    Author has superiority complex as he looks down upon on people from rural Sindh. In evident hate against PPP, he should not abuse by generalizing rural people as “uncivilized”. Rural population of Sindh is again more tolerant and secular Sufi than urban. The violence, hate mongering, hypocrisy and racial attacks and thefts are common in Karachi. Does it mean, all Karachiites are hypocrites and violent gangs? Ofcourse not!! Good and bad people are every where in every city. Plz dont spread the message of hate. Dont hate culture. However, Lets make bridges between rural and urban population. Lets make a progressive Sindh.Recommend

  • Syed

    This is a very precise and sober article. The writer has described the inbuilt aroma of a “Typically Branded” family. This is the blood running in the veins which
    speaks. The blood of Gheesu Ram (ref TAKBEER Magazine), converted to ZA. Bhutto by Mr. Shah Nawaz Bhutto, mixed with the blood of Iranian Nude Stage Dancer, will disclose its identity by the typical display of unusual vibrations. The
    poor chick can’t see all those so called chrome covered Bhuttos lying in a line
    in the holes, they came from. The person responsible for their destiny is sitting and enjoying in castles in UK, France and Dubai. As recently learnt, Zardari has disassociated himself from the Bhuttos by renaming this chick as Bilawal Bhutto only, instead of Bilawal Bhutto Zardari, i.e.renaming Bilawal’s father some Bhutto.
    His mother couldn’t find her brother’s killer and his father couldn’t find the killer of his wife’s, despite being in full power. Instead his father gave philosophical reasoning, “democracy is the best revenge”. What
    a vision? Meaning thereby democracy allows you to kill all these Bhuttos and no
    one should be made responsible. Further more he removed ‘Death’ punishment for
    killing just to save his skin, if caught.Recommend

  • MK

    Well, as comical and funny as the kid is, he is a Bhutto from his mother’s side. Therefore, maternally, he is a Bhutto.Recommend

  • ovais

    in a province with a literacy rate of less than 50 percent and that too is highly influenced by 85 percent literacy of karachi. Bilawal focus on peace and education rather than all thisRecommend

  • ahmed
  • paracetamol

    What people like the author dont understand is that this is only an initiative which would follow pursuit of other cultural promotions such as tourism and the like.
    And just by the way, while the author persistently complains of Bilawal of being ‘burger bacha’, may I ask what the author how he thinks of himself living in an urbanized city (probably never even knowing of what the actual Sindhi culture is all about), by attacking an apparently amazing initiative–something that other provinces have failed to even think about?
    Something you need to ponder upon dear author, may be for the next blog!

    Ps: Just an ordinary citizen who knows more about Sindhi culture and how it could be celebrated rather than one who criticizes the only good initiative anyone currently could’ve brought.Recommend

  • Taimoor

    All i can say to you is just come along the common people and see what their issues are. With no offense kids like you always talk about it the same way against MQM and MUSHARRAF. You must know about personal life of Bilawal. I haven’t found it in any way to call him as a leader of Pakistan majority. I means that would be a joke if someone would ever think it like that for him. I just don’t understand how can people forget about the development been done in tenure of MUSHAARAF & MQM and how the middle class and poor class of Pakistan got benefit with it. Just come out of your airconditioned rooms and spend a month like a common man living a very mediocre class life. you will know what their issues are and Bilawal is representing and addressing to this nation, inshort faking all of us with some written crappy script.Recommend

  • ptr

    lolz, I hope you are being sarcastic. ..Recommend

  • Sulfuric Acid

    I saw one of your article few days back Portraying bilawal as last hope of pakistan. If he is the last hope i wish this hope dies very soon. Dont try to play emotional games.. I have traveled almost all of the sindh while working for telecoms.. People of sindh are lovely hardworking and simple and they hate ppp now. Recommend

  • Faraz Talat

    What? I think you have me confused with some other writer.Recommend

  • Faulitics

    You are a Bhutoo!!!!Recommend

  • Karwa Sach

    I guess Buttoism died with BB !! Now you can call this ”Zardarism”Recommend

  • Tanzeel Ahmad

    Good read Arsalan.Recommend

  • Sarfaraz

    While I agree what you have said in your article (I don’t support Bilawal – and I hail from Larkano); yet I think you need to see comparison, when you say;

    “…what we witness in the name of cultural shows in Karachi is display of
    firearms and uncivilised young men from the villages roaming on the
    streets of Karachi, brandishing sophisticated weapons and shooting in
    the air at Sea View”

    Please tell me what do the CIVILIZED young men in Urban Karachi do everytime. I am sure target-killing, daylight-robbery, rapes, bomb-blasting, strikes, sudden-whole-city-shut-down etc. are the crimes carried out by ‘uncivilized young men from the villages’.

    There are only few urban cities in Pakistan, so do you mean to say that only these cities are ‘civilized Pakistan’.Recommend

  • sheraz

    i think its a good step towards culture and economic rehabilitation. one can expect from a learned person.Recommend

  • Sarfaraz

    Man I hail from Larkano, I was staunch supportive of PPP under Shaheed Benazir Bhutto – I was born few years after execution of Bhutto Sahab). I don’t vote for PPP now but I can still assure you that people of Sindh hardly care don’t about media-buzz on Zardari-led PPPRecommend

  • Sarfaraz Abbasi

    Promoting our Sindhi culture is good thing – and media also should not bring Sindh culture as topic, to criticize. But my objection is that instead of holding Sindh Culture Festival, he should direct Sindh government to invite ministers and secretaries of the world to ink development-agreements for the Sindh province.

    Shahbaz Sharif has been inviting Turk prime minister, and other officials from Japan, China, UK, Germany etc and refer to them ‘development steps between Pakistan and Turkey etc’ – what does he mean, when he says ‘Pakistan’?

    No world leader or minister has been taken to the tour of cities of Pakistan other than same old Islamabad and Lahore. Is their shortage of culture and significant places inside Pakistan? Why does Turk prime minister visit Punjab only?

    Bilawal and his party had power in the center. His party could have done similar trends, what Shahbaz is doing alongside with his brother. Shahbaz asks his brother to invite world leaders and then take them on tour of Punjab, ink agreements; whereas the rest of Pakistan watches them with mouth wide-open.

    we have largest city with port and second industrial hub ‘Ghotki’, after Karachi. The world leaders would be more interested in trading with government on port than with enclosed province of Punjab.Recommend

  • zara

    If people of sindh get educated then who will vote for Bilawal?Recommend

  • R. Behlim

    Money and corruption are ruining the land, crooked politicians betray the working man, pocketing the profits and treating us like sheep, and we’re tired of hearing promises that we know they’ll never keep. Pack them up in a rocket and send them to the moonRecommend

  • ihatebillawalgaybhutto

    My Comment is my name.Recommend

  • mehdi

    so the Ajrak replaces the the Pakistani flag …. now there is a message… Recommend

  • Bina

    Okay first things first – I am anti-PPP, anti-Bhutto regime etc. etc. BUT, contrary to what many of my friends and family members feel, I think the Sindh Festival is great. Yes, we can spend this money on the poor, yes, we can use it for a, b, c or d, but realistically, they’re not going to use it on these ‘important’ reasons, so what’s the harm in lifting the public’s spirits and morale?
    Karachi being one of the most violent and dangerous cities in the world has resulted in the citizens of this city, and the province in general, to become quite disheartened and hardened people. We are all grumps who are always scared and really have nothing to look forward to. This is actually quality, and localized entertainment for everyone to enjoy. The fireworks which I saw were breathtaking and put a massive smile on my face.
    So yes, the party is annoying, and maybe the Sindh Festival is being executed for all the wrong reasons, but, let’s live a little and enjoy ourselves. We all deserve it, regardless of who is supplying it.
    We deserve to let go and have fun once in a while. Recommend