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January 9, 2008
Young Bhutto Begins to Assert Himself
The son of Benazir Bhutto, the designated heir to the leadership of the Pakistani People's Party, has slowly begun to raise his profile internationally while assuring supporters and party members that he is indeed, in charge:
Bilawal Bhutto Zardari warned on Tuesday that Pakistan could disintegrate if fair elections were not held, as he renewed calls for a UN probe into his mother’s killing and defended his appointment as her successor, AFP reported. Young Bilawal shows good instincts by warning of the possibility that Musharraf will pull some electoral ploy to rig the vote. He also shows good political sense by criticizing the United States - always a good move in Pakistan, one of the most anti-American countries in the world.
“I fear for my country. I fear that if free and fair elections are not held it may disintegrate,” he told reporters here. He reiterated demands for a UN probe into Benazir’s assassination, explicitly casting doubt on the government’s investigation. Bilawal also criticised the US government’s support for Musharraf, AP reported. He rejected questions about the undemocratic nature of his succession, saying, “It wasn’t handed on like some piece of family furniture.” Bilawal also appealed for privacy upon his return to Oxford
While Musharraf has engaged Scotland Yard to help the Pakistanis get to the bottom of who killed his mother, Bilawal is clinging to the hope that the UN will get involved in the investigation. More likely, the US would veto any effort in the Security Council to set up such a body although we would probably settle for some kind of international panel to review evidence.
The question some PPP members are asking is will the party leader return to Pakistan to campaign. This is not likely although his father, Asif Ali Zardari, who is running the day to day operation of the party will no doubt campaign heavily.
But Zardari is tainted with a past that includes spending 8 years in jail for murder and corruption charges. He will not become Prime Minister after the elections.