Lately, the leader of Pakistan People’s Party, Bilawal Bhutto Zardari has been seen very active on the political horizon of Pakistan. The young leader who seems to be leading from the front, recently, has come forward on a few platforms and assumed his place in the party. But again, the question remains whether it is the progress of one personality or it is going to lead to the rise and benefit of the party in a collective manner.
Bilawal Bhutto Zardari has inherited the Bhutto charisma but can he make up for the loss of experience that PPP is facing after the untimely demise of his mother? Benazir Bhutto was almost 35 when she won the elections in 1988 to become the first woman prime minister of a Muslim nation and probably she will be only of Pakistan for years to come. Her son, Bilawal Bhutto Zardari is 28 years old and is trying to find his feet in the political game field
It may be true that the PPP still has a more progressive ethos compared to other mainstream political parties on issues such as women rights and the battle against terrorism. But the party’s falling credibility has weakened its impact. It is hard to defend the party against such heavy baggage of incompetence and an image tainted by allegations of corruption.
After the bitter defeat in the elections of 2013, many had thought that this was the end of the PPP; the next three years proved the skeptics almost right. As a common perception, the victory of PPP in the elections of 2008 has was attributed to the sympathy vote after the assassination of its leader, Benazir Bhutto. When the party barely secured 46 national assembly seats in the elections of 2013 it started to point towards a possible end of the days for a party that was thought of as one of Pakistan’s most influential liberal political parties. Although PPP could not form a provincial government in Punjab even after the 2008 elections but they very successful in forming a strong opposition; after the 2013 election PPP seemed to have disappeared from Punjab.
Bilawal Bhutto’s progress in the political scenario is rather slow but it will be unfair to say that the young leader of PPP is not making his mark. Just today Bilawal Bhutto Zardari addressed a media conference with respect to the Azad Kashmir elections; the PPP leader who was considered to be much behind on the national issues and the public appearances have come a long way from his image three years ago. Two weeks before Bilawal Bhutto addressed a parliamentary committee and just three days ago he not only participated in the rally that PPP had arranged to recognize and pay respects to the martyrs of Karsaz but he led it in the every sense of the word.
What the party needs right now is not only the Bhutto charm but Bilawal Bhutto needs to follow the footsteps of her mother who happened to be a dynamic politician and despite using the name of her family and fame of her father in her first elections after she assumed her role in PPP, she completely revamped the party according to the need of time. People’s party has some of the finest politicians in the country in its ranks but their expertise is not being put to proper utilization.
Similarly, he needs to review the party policies to match with the current political scenario. The Bhutto charisma is helpful to mobilize the PPP voters and supporters but it has a shelf life. If People’s party is aiming to use the youth card with its young chairman being active now, it will need to draw its policies in line with the youth’s requirements.