The formal launching of Bilawal Bhutto in the politics
The formal launching of Bilawal Bhutto in the politics
Few days back finally, Chairman of Pakistan People’s Party Bilawal Bhutto Zardari, landed in the plains of the Punjab, ostensibly to console the victims of devastating floods, which had washed away thousands of villages and mass level displacement of population, but actually his much-awaited formal political launching in the province had taken place.
The veteran party leaders and activists from the province had almost lost hope of party’s revival in the province particularly after the crushing defeat the party had met in last general election and in the face of the docile policies adopted by the party’s high command and their continuous indifference toward the revamping and restructuring of its Punjab Chapter.
In this atmosphere of pessimism and hopelessness the sudden landing of party’s Chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari in the province to show his affection and moral support to the flood victims, was no less than a whiff of fresh air and a pleasant surprise carrying with it a lot of hopes for them.
On top of it, the followers of Bhuttos saw the reflection of late Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto and Ms Benazir Bhutto in the person of Bilawal Bhutto Zardari, who entered into the makeshift living arrangements of the flood-hit areas and hugged poor people mingled with them to boost their morale like his grandfather used to do so.
A party activist in downtown Rawalpindi, a comrade of late Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto, was beaming with joy on seeing the third generation of Bhuttos moving into knee-deep flood waters and sharing the woes of the people in hot and humid weather.
Tears were rolling down his wrinkled cheeks searching the reflection of both Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto and Ms Benazir Bhutto in him with the hope that the young Bhutto would take the party to new heights and moving ahead with Bhuttos’ legacy.
Although former president Asif Ali Zardari, spouse of Ms Benazir Bhutto, had kept the party intact after her assassination during election campaign in 2007 and also managed to complete the mandated term of the PPP led coalition government for the first time in the party’s history, but the fact remained that he failed to win over majority of the party workers and activists whose hearts throb with Bhuttos.
Being the Co-Chairman and President of Pakistan Asif Ali Zardari had accomplished so many political tasks widely acclaimed by the friends and foes of Pakistan People’s Party like passage of 18th Constitutional Amendment and bringing National Finance Commission Award. But the fact remained that he could not win over the hearts and souls of majority of party workers who were enslaved by the charisma of Bhuttos.
Though many in the Pakistan People’s Party held the poor and dismal performance of PPP led coalition government responsible for their crushing defeat in the 2013 General Elections but some of the key party leaders considered that had Bilawal Bhutto Zardari lead the election campaign of the party, as earlier decided, the results would have been much different.
But serious security threats had kept Bilawal Bhutto Zardari away from the election campaign and he remained confined to video addresses to a few party rallies across the country which failed to garner some respectable tally for party in Punjab and the party which had completed its five years mandated term was virtually reduced to Sindh, still party’s stronghold.
The formal launching of Bilawal Bhutto in the politics, especially in Punjab was kept on delaying since 2013 General Elections on one pretext or the other but mainly he was kept away from political arena and practical politics owing to serious security threats to his life and he remained confined to a limited political activities that too in Sindh alone.
Lately, the politics of reconciliation and amity with the ruling Pakistan Muslim League(Nawaz) came in the way of his entering in the plains of Punjab for revival of the party and former president and Co-Chairman of the party Asif Ali Zardari delayed the move to facilitate Mian Nawaz Sharif for the sake of continuity of incumbent political dispensation.
The Punjab Chapter of Pakistan People’s Party was critical of Asif Ali Zardari’s way of politics and in a number of high-level party meetings the issue was raised by the party’s stalwarts from the province cautioning the leadership that if this politics of amity and friendship would continue then Pakistan People’s Party would meet its natural death in the province.
Bringing him in the politics in Punjab during the floods was the smart move on part of Asif Ali Zardari, known for his political shrewdness. Because in this way he had formally brought Bilawal Bhutto Zardari in Punjab in the circumstances wherein he have no political opposition from any quarter.
Political observers and analysts considered that his visit to Punjab would definitely create ripples in the already troubled political waters of the province.
It was hoped that he would be leaving great impact on the party politics and would be able to woo back the estranged party workers and activists provided he would play a smart moves, which he definitely would, because a very sharp and shrewd political brain in shape of Asif Ali Zardari would be standing at his back.
And obviously with reflection of both Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto and his mother Ms Benazir Bhutto oozing out of his person, Bilawal Bhutto Zardari would surely be a crowd puller politician. Whether he would leave any major impact on the political horizon of the country or not only time and his political moves on the chessboard of this tricky game will tell.
By: Syed Abid Gillani