Batty over Bilawal

Batty over Bilawal

The chairperson of the ruling Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP), Benazir Bhutto's son and Zulfikar Ali Bhutto's grandson, Bilawal Bhutto Zardari, left Pakistani newspapers enthusiastic with a speech at the Bhutto family mausoleum on the fifth death anniversary of Benazir to mark his formal entry into Pakistan's electoral politics, well before next year's general elections.

While some likened him to his mother, other saw reflections of his father in him. But every paper had words of praise for the vast improvement in his Urdu since last year. Daily Times reported on December 28: "Bilawal said his party still owns the slogan 'Roti, kapra aur makaan'... He was the only speaker to whom people listened silently and responded with zeal. His father, President Asif Ali Zardari and the top PPP leadership were present on the occasion. Bilawal also chanted the slogan 'tum kitne Bhutto marogay, har ghar se Bhutto nikle ga' in an emotional way, similar to that of his mother. He also added two new names in the slogan — Malala Yousufzai and Bashir Bilour... Bilawal also criticised the judiciary for not showing interest in reopening of Bhutto's reference and making progress in Benazir's assassination case..."

Mazhar Abbas, The Express Tribune's current affairs director, wrote: "Just a year back, Bilawal had made a poor speech in Urdu... But yesterday, it appeared that he has learned a lot since then and his father ensured he was well tutored. He appeared confident, so much so that on at least three occasions he relied on poetic verse to drive his point home. His tone was measured, he didn't speak too loud and he tried to speak to the party workers instead of pontificate [sic]... The substance of his speech had a strong Zardari flavour. Thus, he sounded more like his father than his mother and he was nowhere close to sounding like his grandfather. But it would be unfair to expect this much from him."

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