Benazir Bhutto's Teenage Son Faces Press

January 10, 2008 09:24 AM
by findingDulcinea Staff
Bilawal Bhutto, the 19-year-old son of the murdered Benazir Bhutto, holds his first press conference as joint leader of the Pakistan People’s Party. The media poses some tough questions about his lack of experience.

30-Second Summary

Facing reporters in London, Bilawal Bhutto Zardari emphasized the importance of completing his studies at Oxford in preparation for his new role in politics.

“Unless I can finish my education and develop enough maturity, I recognize that I will never be in a position to have sufficient wisdom to enter the political arena," Bilawal said.

He went on to say that although he had no prior aspirations to lead the Pakistan People's Party (PPP), “I was called and I have stepped up.”

However, party members and Bilawal’s great uncle Mumtaz Bhutto have denounced his succession.

In an interview with the The Guardian, Mumtaz said that the post should have passed to a Bhutto, underscoring that Bilawal uses his father’s surname.

“He is a Zardari, you can't just change it like that,” Mumtaz said.

In fact, Benazir had intended her husband, Asif Ali Zardari, to lead the party after her death.

In a “political will” written two days before her October return from exile, the former premier stated that it was her wish that Zardari should take the reins as party chief.

But her family quickly rejected the idea. They instead selected her son, appointing Zardari as joint leader until Bilawal finishes his studies at Oxford. Once those are complete, Bilawal should become the party’s sole leader.

The young leader appealed to the press for privacy until that time. When discussing the possible threat to his life, he told reporters, “I fear more for my privacy."

Headline Links: A request for privacy

Background: The Bhutto family legacy

Selecting Bilawal

Historical Context: Benazir Bhutto’s political career

Opinions & Analysis: Bilawal called to step aside

Related Topics: Bilawal’s security at Oxford


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