Sisters convinced Bilawal to end differences with father

Source: Published in Politics on Wednesday, June 3, 2015

LAHORE: Efforts of the two sisters have played a major role in ending the differences between their father and brother, according to sources close to the Zardari family.

PPP Chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari returned to Karachi on Monday, about seven months after he left for London skipping the party’s Founding Day on Nov 30, 2014, in Lahore that had triggered rumours of his differences with his father, Asif Ali Zardari , the party’s co-chairman.

Subsequently, Mr Bilawal for the first time since the assassination of PPP chairperson Benazir Bhutto in 2007 also missed his mother’s death anniversary, giving credence to the reports of differences (between father and son) over the party affairs and the latter’s ‘irresponsible’ statement about MQM chief Altaf Hussain.

Upset over such reports, Mr Zardari had to say that his son needed time to be politically groomed and that he would be pitched in the political arena at an appropriate time. The PPP had already launched Mr Bilawal in politics in a rally on Oct 18, 2014, in Karachi.

The PPP workers were also not happy over the development and were unanimous that without Bilawal the party had no future.

“Bhaktawar and Asefa had been active along with their maternal aunt Sanam Bhutto for the last two months to persuade Bilawal to ignore ‘petty’ issues and follow his father in politics,” a source said. He said both the sisters succeeded in cooling down Bilawal who agreed to return and resume political activities (under the guidance of his father).

The source said: “Bilawal, who is turning 27 this September, has been advised (by his father) to enhance his interaction with the party office-bearers and workers as eventually he has to head the party.”

The PPP workers are very excited over Bilawal’s return as they believe that his presence in the country will strengthen the party.

“The PPP workers are very happy over his return. The PPP is now in a better position to put up a good show in upcoming local body polls in Punjab,” PPP south Punjab vice-president Haider Zaman Qureshi said.

Talking to Dawn, he said with every passing day the party would get strengthened in the country. “Mr Bilawal has started his political activities as today he met with the legislators of Sindh Assembly. He will visit Punjab after Eid and his presence will give a boost to the party in the upcoming local body elections in Punjab,” he said.

PPP senior leader Navid Chaudhry, who also remained Mr Zardari’s coordinator in Punjab, said there had never been any differences between the father and son. “In fact, disinformation was deliberately spread about their differences to make the party workers feel low,” he told Dawn.

Navid Chaudhry further said the party affairs were handled in consensus between the senior leaders. “It was not the case that Mr Bilawal wanted to run the party affairs on his own. The impression was created to damage the party. Mr Bilawal was in London to complete his education and Mr Zardari will also be active in politics once the two-year bar on him as president ends this September,” he said.

To a question about the political grooming of Mr Bilawal, Navid Chaudhry said: “Grooming comes by experience. Besides Mr Bilawal will learn a lot in the company of his father and experienced party politicians and workers.”

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Written by Zulqernain Tahir

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