Sunday, December 30, 2007

Pakistan's Opposition Party in the Wake of Bhutto's Death

So much for persevering in the spirit of democratic reform:

Political turmoil in Pakistan deepened on Sunday as Benazir Bhutto’s son Bilawal, a 19-year-old student at Oxford, was surprisingly chosen to succeed the slain opposition leader as chairman of Pakistan’s largest party.

But the teenager will initially be only a figurehead, with his controversial father, Asif Ali Zardari, set to lead the Pakistan People’s party as co-chairman into elections expected to be delayed beyond the planned date next month.


Mr Zardari Sr said that Bilawal, like his two younger sisters, would henceforth take his mother’s name, styling himself Bilawal Bhutto Zardari. A first-year history student, the teenager has lived outside Pakistan since 1999. He is to return to his studies and it is not clear when he will return to an active role in Pakistan.

This is designed to overcome a branding problem: up until now, Bhutto’s three children have used their father’s name. Mr Zardari Sr, a former minister and senator, was imprisoned from 1997 to 2004 on corruption charges, and has yet to shake off a reputation as an affable but venal bon vivant.


Mr Zardari Sr denied that he would be the PPP’s prime ministerial candidate, saying that the party was most likely to nominate Makhdoom Amin Fahim, the party’s vice-chairman.

MORE: Apparently, Bilawal has “attended the Rashid School for Boys, serving as Vice President of the school’s student council.”

EVEN MORE: On Bhutto's husband's, um, colorful past.

No comments: