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Bilawal’s return to set off ‘change in PPP politics’

Bilawal’s return to set off ‘change in PPP politics’

KARACHI: PPP Chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari returned home on Monday after staying abroad for more than six months, fanning speculations about his differences with his father, former president Asif Ali Zardari.

PPP leaders said the 28-year-old had come back with political plans and a “change in party’s politics and organisation will be visible”.

According to a spokesman for the Bilawal House, the young PPP chief came to Karachi in a private jet from Dubai, along with his sister Bakhtawar Bhutto Zardari. He was flown from the airport to his Clifton residence in a helicopter.

“No activity is scheduled right now,” he said when asked about the engagements of the PPP chief. “Asif Ali Zardari, who is out of the country, is also expected to return in a day or two and then the family is expected to spend some time together. Mr Bilawal is now taking rest.”

The PPP chief had left the country last year, days after addressing a large public meeting in Karachi on Oct 18 marking the seventh anniversary of return of his mother and former prime minister Benazir Bhutto to Pakistan.

After the 2014 rally, which was stated to be the ‘launch of Bilawal Bhutto’, he remained almost out of active politics and finally left the country.

Media reports about Asif Zardari calling his son politically “immature” amid serious allegations levelled by some strained party leaders such as Dr Zulfiqar Mirza and Naheed Abbassi raised questions about his sudden departure. But such perceptions may die out after Bilawal’s return.

“There was never ever any such thing [alleged differences between Bilawal and Asif Zardari],” senior PPP leader Saeed Ghani told Dawn. “We and the entire party knew that he [Bilawal] was out of the country for his studies and since he has graduated [last month], he is now all in politics and that’s why he has returned.”

When asked about his future plans, Mr Ghani said Bilawal Bhutto would hold meetings with leaders and workers of the party and play an active political role.

“Definitely there will be some changes and these will be visible,” he said in reply to a question about possible changes in the PPP, at least at the organisational level. “Bilawal Bhutto has his own vision and he will definitely take some decision in line with his vision.”

Published in Dawn, June 2nd, 2015

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