ISLAMABAD - Bakhtawar Bhutto Zardari made a leap towards following into her late mother’s footsteps yesterday when she was appointed to the Pakistan Peoples Party’s leadership team.
She was named the party’s social media chief , fuelling speculation that she may eventually join her brother Bilawal as a PPP co-chairperson.
The appointment marks the third generation of Bhutto women to join the party’s leadership. Her grandmother Nusrat led the PPP after the execution of Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, and her martyred mother Benazir was leader from November 1982 to December 2007.
Until now Bakhtawar’s brother Bilawal Zardari has been expected to succeed their father Asif Zardari as PPP leader, but both she and her younger and charismatic sister Aseefa have their backers within the party.
This is the 25-year-old’s first major party assignment. Earlier, she was considered for the women’s wing presidency but her paternal aunt Faryal Talpur was chosen instead amid concerns over her inexperience.
Bakhtawar is not the first female family member to lead a major party’s social media wing. Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s daughter Maryam Nawaz Sharif and PTI chief Imran Khan’s wife Reham Khan have both been doing the job for their parties. Reham Khan has been inactive for a while after Imran Khan asked her to stay away from politics.
Unlike her older brother and younger sister, Bakhtawar has not been too enthusiastic about participating in practical politics but PPP workers believe it is her destiny as the heir of Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, Benazir Bhutto and Asif Ali Zardari.
The move was announced on Twitter yesterday while in another tweet her brother and the party chairman congratulated her on her appointment. PPP Vice President Sherry Rehman joined others to congratulate her.
Until now Bakhtawar has been best known for a 2009 rap song posted on YouTube in January 2009 which she dedicated to the “crazy courage” of her assassinated mother, Benazir.
PPP insiders have dismissed the notion that the young amateur musician intends to take advantage of her brother Bilawal’s alleged differences with their father.
A senior PPP leader said that Bakhtawar’s “practical launch” was not intended to undermine Bilawal. “Although she may share powers but she will be in a supportive role,” he remarked.
PPP sources said that Zardari wanted all his children to take part in politics and co-lead the party. “Bakhtawar will be in a lead role but behind Bilawal,” one source said.