Let Bilawal and Bakhtawar takeover Bhutto’s party

Published: April 4, 2015


It is ironic that around the time of the death anniversary of the greatest civilian leader Pakistan has ever seen, the party he founded is a shadow of its former self. Massively talented with an ego to match, Zulfikar Ali Bhutto will forever remain etched in the memory of every Pakistani.

For the ones who saw him during his life, and even for those who only read about him in history books, his name ignites a passion no other leader in the country’s history has been able to match.

Benazir Bhutto was the natural successor as the party leader after her father was executed in a sham trial. After Benazir’s assassination, it was obvious to everyone that her eldest son, Bilawal Bhutto, would take over the reins at some point in the future. While understanding that was fairly simple, what has not been fairly simple is the PPP’s ability to utilise Bilawal in the best manner. Only recently, news of Bakhtawar Bhutto entering politics has emerged too.

Bakhtawar’s rumoured entry into politics, if true, is welcome news. Not because it gives PPP another member of the Bhutto family to revive the party, but because Pakistani politics needs women who can make an impact on a national stage.

Currently, our political web lacks women who could potentially develop into national leaders in the future. There is talk of Maryam Nawaz as future heir to PML-N’s leadership, but she has not made any significant impact yet. PTI, despite having an impressive list of women members, lacks a member who could take centre stage at the national level. The same applies to MQM, ANP and other political entities in the country.

This is a trend that mirrors what goes on in our society – highly male dominated areas with very few opportunities for women. While it is true that things have improved over time and our socio-political dynamics have made space for women, it is nowhere near optimal level.

A country which had the brilliant Fatima Jinnah playing a pivotal role in its struggle for independence should not be a country where women struggle to participate actively in political life. This is what makes Bakhtawar’s entry into politics even more relevant.

In order for Bakhtawar to make a strong impact however, she needs to be given freedom. The PPP has been in a rut for a while, and even its most passionate supporters know this deep down, even if they refuse to admit it publicly. One of the many problems facing PPP right now is the divide between the old and new. Understandably, the old guard wants to remain relevant and not forego the influence they yield in the party. But it is time for the old guard to take a permanent back seat, and let Bakhtawar and Bilawal take centre stage.

The PPP has nothing to lose and everything to gain. It has been reduced to a regional party and if the young minds within the party are not given the room to manoeuvre, then things will go from bad to worse. This is one of the reasons why Bilawal has taken, or at least been forced into taking, a beat seat.

As things stand currently, he will not be present in Pakistan for his grandfather’s death anniversary and this is something that does not make the PPP look good in front of its age-old loyalists, despite all the clarifications.

While all is not lost for the PPP, what needs to be realised is that you only miss a finite number of opportunities. The mistakes made in handling Bilawal must not be repeated when it comes to launching Bakhtawar’s political career.

Bring back Bilawal. Launch Bakhtawar. Give both of them the space and freedom they need, and things will face in place. There is a huge vacuum in Pakistani politics when it comes to young energetic minds, and both Bilawal and Bakhtawar can fill that void.

Turn it back into the enigmatic left-wing party Zulfikar Ali Bhutto founded. Not the dry right-wing one Asif Ali Zardari turned it into.

salman Zafar

Salman Zafar

The writer works in the Education Sector and tweets as @salmanzafar1985 (twitter.com/salmanzafar1985)

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

  • Parvez

    The article was very school grade…..Recommend

  • islooboy

    Bilawal appa lolRecommend

  • climax

    bilawal will never win seat, maybe in peshawar or diamond market but not anywhere elseRecommend

  • Maximus Decimus Meridius

    I see that the writer is a die hard PPP fan. He calls bhutto the greatest leader pakistan has ever seen, even though bhutto destroyed Pakistan. He created Bangladesh, he brought extremism to our country and he destroyed the economy with nationalization. So all in all he was the WORST thing ever to happen to Pakistan. To be frank a foreign takeover would have been better than what bhutto did. Instead of killing Pakistan outright he cut off out arms and gave incurable cancer to the rest of the body. So May he suffer for his crimes in the deepest darkest dungeons of hell, and may he be eternally chastised for the thousands of Bengalis who were killed in the 1971 conflict. and the hundreds of thousands who have been killed till now due to his extremism.
    Now we come to his “Party”. PPP is the taliban of sindh simple as that. When we realise that we will start to progress, if we refuse to realise this, we may as well shoot ourselves in the leg.
    Just look at the Taliban, they want to enforce a law which is their own, and goes against the law of Pakistan. They call this law Shariah. Now look at the PPP landlords in Sindh, their word is the law, they don’t follow any other law. The whims of these so called men is the law of their land. They have private prisons and kill whoever they want. At least the Taliban have the (relative to these psychos) decency of basing their so called Shariah on a book, the PPP landlords do whatever they want, they think of themselves as gods.
    Again look at what the Taliban are currently doing. They are killing hundreds of people. simple as that. They have became murderers. Now compare the number of taliban victims with the people PPP landlords have killed, either with their guns or by denying them food, and add to it the number of people who simply disappeared. The number of PPP’s victims is higher.
    Look at the Taliban, they instil terror in the hearts of everyone who lives near them. Where Taliban take up residence everyone is afraid and has to bow down to the Taliban. Now have a good look at the PPP in Sindh, they have hundreds of thousands of people under their thumb, who are like slaves to them. They cannot do anything with their lives, except serve the landlords. Their children are raped and they themselves work to pay debts that will never ever be paid up.
    Lastly ask yourselves one simple question. Last year who killed more children, the Taliban or the PPP. The children killed in Thar due to the sociopathic attitude of PPP are far higher than the children killed in Taliban attacks.
    The only difference between the Taliban and the PPP is that the Taliban are being hunted by the army (and those scumbags deserve that), they live in hostile environments and live life frugally. While on the other hand the PPP guys are similar to Taliban , or even worse, but they get off scot free.Recommend

  • Sol Invictus

    But first, he has to get that TECHNICAL PROBLEM of his sorted out.Recommend

  • Fawad Shah

    Looks like you have not given up on slavery. Why shouldn’t Aitzaz Ahsan lead PPP. How is Bakhtawar or Bilawal better than many intellectuals in the party? If you are a follower of monarchy, just say so but don’t disguise it by sugar coating it with democracy.Recommend

  • Edhi Abdul Aziz

    Zardari family will never agree to Act freely to Mr. Bilawal and his SistersRecommend

  • deed

    the writer should stick to writing about cricket.Recommend

  • Muzammil

    Well, political parties get their leaderships from within the party, not on DNA. There is no concept of ‘heir’ in them. Bilawal or Bakhtawar with absolutely Zero input to pakistani society or PPP itself have no more right than me being the leaders in PPP.Recommend

  • Pro Truth

    is it for democracy? why not declare a monarchy and make these so called future leaders as crown prince and princes?
    get a life!Recommend

  • Awais

    Thanks for opening my eyes! I was failing to grasp the concept that Pakistan needs a leader who has lived a lavish lifestyle in England and speaks Urdu (if you can call it that) in an abnormally strong accent, rather than a local Pakistani, because we need leaders who can’t relate to, or understand our problems. And obviously we’ve inherited Bilawal and Bakhtawar as rulers, because we don’t live in a Republic but in a Kingdom, ruled by the dynasty in the article. I was so ignorant to think, that our politicians are there to serve the people. Obviously we’re there to be oppressed, by the Bhutto dynasty. We’re supposed to watch our Kings and Queens fulfil their extravagant lifestyle and we MUST work our butts off to ensure that we can pay for their lifestyles!

    Very good piece of writing, brought tears to my eyes.Recommend

  • Gopeet

    Bakhtawar has good possibilities. Shows promise. As long as she manages
    the Urdu speaking Muhajjirs in Karachi and Hyderabad, in Sindh the right way.
    All 25 million of them. A good chunk of the voting block. And rudderless currently.
    Without the help from Muhajjirs PPP or Party of Dead People is zero, the rural Sindhi jiyalas are not enough. Her brother is like Rahul Gandhi. She is like Priyanka Gandhi……make no mistake. Sharp, smart and homegrown. If the right handlers are there. Her father, the $billionaire can afford the bestRecommend

  • Amrita Yasin

    It’s not Bhutto’s party. It’s People’s party. Or that is how it should be. The leader should be (s)elected based on competence and credentials not whose womb he/she came out from.Recommend

  • Tenzing Norgay

    Looking at facts and figures and Googling various international
    agencies….the extremists/terrorists/banned outfits have slaughtered,
    killed, bombed and gunned down 77,893 men women and children.
    This does NOT include the armed forces personnel killed directly due to
    extremists attacks. Nor does it include the Sectarian [Shias, Bohris, Hindus,
    Christias, Ahmadis and Sikhs] Groups attacked and annihilated. Nor does
    it account for the 215, 623 injured, maimed, some totally disabled for life.
    [some die six months later from injuries that nobody bothers tracking.]
    Now, is this comparable to PPP? If this was so, Mr. Zardari and family and
    leaders of PPP would be under Interpol Red Warrants. They step out of the country they will be in arrested. Now, then, do you understand the gravity of your accusations?
    [the armed forces of your country do not disclose the true figures on casualties]Recommend

  • Maximus Decimus Meridius

    what a silly reply. The people killed by these people are never brought to light. Who is going to report them? In this way your argument is actually in my favour.Recommend