Stories about Bilawal Bhutto Zardari

The liberal and the ‘liberally corrupt’

During Imran Khan’s recent outburst, when he mockingly mimicked Bilawal Bhutto Zardari, he referred to the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) chairman as a man who is not a liberal but is instead “liberally corrupt.” Calling an opponent corrupt is nothing new for Imran, however, being branded a liberal today is almost perceived as an affront. Thus, Bilawal swiftly tweeted and declared that he is not a liberal but a progressive and ideologically inclined individual, in his own words “taraki-pasand aur nazriyati.” This begs the question as to what is the barometre by which one gauges liberalism, and if both these leaders do ...

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As we bid farewell to Nawaz, what fate awaits Zardari?

As expected, Nawaz Sharif finally flew abroad today on his own conditions after getting permission from the Lahore High Court (LHC). His illness, as mentioned in my previous piece, led to a reworking of the nation’s political chessboard. Not only did it bring the issue of political victimisation at the hands of the incumbent government into the limelight but it also forced Pakistan’s powerful quarters to tell the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) government that enough with the accountability narrative, get to work on fixing the economy and other governance issues. Furthermore, the change in the tone of the PTI allies, both Pakistan Muslim League-Quaid (PML-Q) ...

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At what cost is Thar being ‘developed’?

Bilawal Bhutto Zardari visited Tharparkar two weeks ago. He addressed a huge gathering near Main Bypass Road Islamkot, stayed the night at MNA Mahesh Kumar Malani’s residence in Mithi, visited Thar Coal Block One and Two on the second day of his visit and then departed for Karachi. Did he miss something in all of this? Yes, he did. On the very same evening when he was on stage addressing the thousands of people gathered in Islamkot, a group of indigenous Tharis were protesting in front of the Islamkot Press Club. Although the two venues were not far from ...

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Stop deifying or demonising PTM, just lend them a listening ear

The military’s media wing stated in a recent statement that soldiers manning a North Waziristan checkpoint attacked by Pashtun Tahafuz Movement (PTM) workers led by MNA Mohsin Dawar “exercised maximum restraint”. Despite being attacked, the soldiers didn’t harm the PTM workers.  This is a good sign and reflects the maturity of the armed forces, but they should always exercise restraint like this. There are many conspiracy theories out there about how and why members of the PTM allegedly attacked the Kharqamar check post, or whether they attacked it at all. In addition, there are voices in the Pakistani media questioning where the PTM ...

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Chill out, PTI! It was just an iftar

An iftar gathering at the Zardari House in Islamabad has shaken the political corridors of Pakistan. On Sunday, almost 10 opposition parties including the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP), the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N), Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam (JUI-F) and the Pashtun Tahafuz Movement (PTM) gathered for an informal iftar-dinner to devise a strategy against the incumbent Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) government. Maryam Nawaz led the PML-N delegation which Hamza Shehbaz was a part of, proving Maryam has finally taken the lead role while Hamza will perform a role similar to what his father did for Nawaz Sharif. Nonetheless, this was a big show ...

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Can Maryam Nawaz and Shahid Khaqan Abbasi break PML-N out of its shackles?

The Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) has finally realised that it will reach nowhere if it keeps riding two boats at the same time. The current changes in the ranks of the PML-N, as well as removing Shehbaz Sharif from the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) chairmanship, are all signs that PML-N supremo Nawaz Sharif has learnt from the mistakes of the past two years and a new dawn is coming for PML-N. Shehbaz was against his brother’s ‘respect the vote’ narrative from the start, and had an approach similar to Chaudhry Nisar, as they both favoured working towards maintaining the ...

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9 times PM Imran Khan made us cringe and laugh our way through ‘Naya Pakistan’

There has hardly been a moment of peace over the past eight months since Prime Minister Imran Khan came to power, given the sheer number of controversies he has caused on a regular basis. Imran is famous for speaking extemporaneously and saying whatever comes to his mind; facts and reason be damned. It doesn’t help that his army of cult followers do not have the ability to think past his persona and move beyond the Kaptaan fan club. But Imran often moves beyond saying controversial things to making statements that are absolutely ridiculous, resulting not only in national embarrassment but also ...

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A tale of two speeches: Why Bilawal has proved to be a better leader than Imran

This blog is about two speeches that are invariably linked. The first, delivered in a firebrand style by a young leader, provoked a response from an older leader. Both are leaders of major political parties, belonging to different generations and espousing different political ideologies. But as the crux of their speeches show, they belong to different calibres as well. The first speech was given in a National Assembly session by Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) Chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari. It was partly in response to Asad Umar’s infamous speech attacking Bilawal, and partly to raise some important questions about the recent ...

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The consequences of Prime Minister Imran Khan’s words

Prime Minister Imran Khan finally paid a visit to Iran upon the invitation of Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, and the two-day visit was very important considering the strategic importance of both countries combined with the extreme tension between them on their over 900-kilometre long border. During his visit, apart from meeting Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei, Imran addressed a joint press conference with Rouhani in which both countries stressed upon the importance of improving relations through bilateral dialogue, especially to combat the threats of drug smuggling and terrorism. This was a rather strange joint presser, as both Pakistan and Iran have ...

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Renaming BISP: PTI’s art of turning non-issues into controversies, because any publicity is good publicity

The art of turning a non-issue into a controversy seems to be a favourite habit of the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) government. From the moment it came to power, PTI has only been good at changing the names of projects initiated by former governments and trying to re-launch them under its own name. The inauguration of the Lahore to Multan Motorway and the opening of the Bagh Ibn-e-Qasim in Karachi are examples in this regard, for the latter was already inaugurated while the former was a project almost completed by the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) government. As the prime minister is a media-savvy person, ...

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