Bilawal “Bhutto” Zardari – A Shell for PPP’s Survival

By Obaid ur Rehman.

The political culture in Pakistan has always been unstable and multi-directional. Motives and norms of political parties change as the situation changes. Every party in our politics gives the priority to lead the table with new political innovations and some unique and interesting slogans which could impress the target audience. The trend of young leadership is also a sort of new stuff in our political system and political parties believe in young leadership to a notable extent. It was Imran Khan who empowered youth to come into politics and gave them directions to lead from the front. That became the major reason that Imran Khan got pretty much successful in taking out educated and young people out of their homes to vote the justice, equality and freedom.

The culture and trends of Pakistan’s politics changed when Imran Khan came into the political ring with completely new political objectives, slogans, agendas and started giving opposing parties extremely tough time. That culture gave a new mindset to the politics of Pakistan and people got extremely aware of politics and relevant dealings. Before that, political parties were only focusing on how to grab votes from people and make their own vote bank stronger but now when the things have changed, political parties know very well that due to awareness, people and voters are sensible enough that they possess courage to bring their leaders into nation’s courts for accountability. With respect to the current political culture and competition, different parties have started to bring their youth on the front line to be in the modern competition.

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Pakistan People’s Party is fighting for its survival, particularly after General Elections 2013. During their last 5 year reign, PPP on overall scale, failed to deliver and that has been proved in the results of last general elections, where PPP got confined to Sindh only. From Punjab and KPK, PPP is almost finished in these regions and right now, the literate group of people in Sindh is also looking for someone else probably to whom they can vote for their own future and betterment. This could be so, as people have probably realized the fact that they are now done with voting PPP in the name of Late Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto and Late Benazir Bhutto.

Asif Ali Zardari, the Co-Chairman of Pakistan People’s Party and former President of Pakistan, being a clever politician as well, realizes the situation and knows very well that when he has to play his cards. Asif Ali Zardari during his reign could not obtain a positive image on a general scale, a probable reason that why he has given his son and Chairman PPP Bilawal Bhutto Zardari the command to run the party’s matter and supervise the party’s Central Executive Committee. Bilawal Bhutto Zardari officially took over the control of party from his father in 2014 and since then he is the man behind PPP.

Talking about Bilawal’s political approach then I must say that it’s not that much effective the way it should have been. On the front, we see Bilawal taking decisions about party matters and handling all the in-house scenarios, but actually it’s not only one man show. All the senior leaders of party collectively deal with the party scenarios after getting instructions from the man sitting in Gulf, a man none other than Asif Ali Zardari, and then dictate the same to Bilawal Bhutto Zardari. For me, such an impressive mechanism does not make someone a leader. We know that Bilawal does not talk to media, he does not come to a TV Channel for some interview, and he cannot even talk to a journalist about his party’s matters and policies. He even learns the speeches before addressing to party workers in a political gathering. Under these facts, it becomes obvious to believe that if a person is not at all able to be called as a front man in the real world and in front of his own people and media, then how can he really runs a party and that too on his own completely.

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Once if you have the decision making power, then you automatically becomes able to defend and answerable to public and media. If you do not have enough guts then very sorry to say, you are just a puppet being dictated by your other party members and leaders. No doubt that Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto and Benazir Bhutto were the public leaders who had massive fan following and huge vote banks. But it’s not at all necessary if the legacy either continues or not. Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto and Benazir Bhutto were the born-leaders whereas Bilawal being their child is yet in a politically- manufacturing process and for me, he does not bear the leadership qualities, those qualities which we have witnessed within Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto and Benazir Bhutto.

Pakistan People’s Party is among the top three biggest political parties of Pakistan right now and in the near past, PPP leaders have played pretty much smart cards in various matters, be it sit-in scenarios back in 2014 or the ongoing Panama Papers scandal, PPP has been sensible throughout so far. Yet I believe that People’s Party is also looking for survival, but inspite of that the workers of PPP should differentiate between their real leaders and Bilawal Bhutto Zardari. Bilawal Bhutto’s speeches are extremely over and unnecessary consisting of political immaturity whereas the other leaders of PPP like Opposition Leader Syed Khursheed Shah, Chaudhary Aitezaz Ahsan and Qamar Zaman Qaira always take intelligent initiatives, give balanced statements and speak accordingly.

Bilawal Bhutto while talking about corruption and criticizing PMLN government or any other party, forgets about that corruption which took place under the leadership of his father in PPP’s last reign. The way Bilawal talks about other flaws in other parties, he also forgets PPP’s past and present which has not been impressive and up to the mark. No one from other parties now take Bilawal’s speeches and political statements on that much serious note. Statements of other leaders probably weigh more than that of Bilawal’s ones as Bilawal’s speeches are just another form of political hype.

I see no future of Bilawal Bhutto in politics, he is being used as a shell in the form of Bhutto’s name so that PPP can protect itself, revive its long lost status and come into the power again probably. Asif Ali Zardari, the man behind the curtains, and the leaders of PPP know very well that PPP is falling from its grace and it looks almost impossible for them to stand up once again and rule the parliament. This is the reason why they have put Bhutto in the middle of Bilawal Zardari so that once again they can have a way to ask people to vote PPP in the name of Bhutto. But, this time it won’t be easier safe passage for PPP to do so because the fact is that Bilawal belongs to Bhutto’s family being as a grandson of Late Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto and son of Late of Benazir Bhutto who are unfortunately no more in this world but actually he is the son of Asif Ali Zardari, Bilawal Zardari.

Obaid ur Rehman The writer is Islamabad based Journalist and a Research Analyst.
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