ISLAMABAD - Charismatic Aseefa Bhutto Zardari is only two years away from becoming eligible to run for elections and possibly co-lead the Pakistan People’s Party along with her brother Bilawal Bhutto Zardari and father Asif Ali Zardari. Aseefa was in Washington yesterday with her brother Bilawal and sister Bakhtawar Bhutto Zardari. Senior PPP leader Senator Sherry Rehman was also with them. Her father Asif Ali Zardari was likely to join them for a belated birthday party today but the PPP sources did not confirm his participation.

Bilawal and Sherry Rehman were in Washington originally to attend the National Prayer Breakfast hosted by President Barrack Obama on February 4.

Aseefa was born on February 2, 1993 and will attain the age of 25 – mandatory to contest polls - before the 2018 general elections. There are strong signals from the PPP that all the three children of former premier Benazir Bhutto will contest the next national elections. The young daughter of Benazir Bhutto is famous among the young generation of Pakistan and among the lovers of the PPP. She is completing her education from Dubai and is the ambassador of UNICEF for the treatment of polio in Pakistan. She is famously the first Pakistani baby to be vaccinated against polio after her mother launched a major immunisation drive in 1994 and has since become a national ambassador for the campaign.

Zardari’s close aide said he was eager to see Aseefa as the leader of PPP in future and she has not been shy to express this desire. A few months earlier, the former President said Aseefa would take part in active politics in next few years. PPP leaders suggest Zardari wanted all his children take part in politics and co-lead the party while he remains the mentor.  When Zardari was the President, between 2008 and 2013, Aseefa was regularly invited to join functions at the President’s House or at the Prime Minister’s House.

A senior PPP leader said Zardari never planned to replace Bilawal with Aseefa but wanted her to co-lead the party with her brother. Bakhtawar was also in for an identical role. A few months earlier, Bakhtawar was given the responsibility to head the social media team of the PPP – a step towards the top. Bakhtawar’s appointment marked the third generation of Bhutto women to join the party’s leadership. Her grandmother Nusrat Bhutto led the PPP after the execution of Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, and her martyred mother Benazir Bhutto was leader from November 1982 to December 2007.

Aseefa made a soft entry by casting her first vote in Tando Allahyar in the second phase of Local Governments elections late last year. Another PPP leader said Aseefa was destined to contest elections in 2018 and if the party won, she could be assigned some important role. “Bilawal is the party’s candidate for the PM’s slot but Aseefa could be given some key role ... like leading the party when Bilawal is busy as the PM or becoming the parliamentary leader etc,” he added. Diehard PPP supporters believe Bilawal may be the party’s candidate for the PM’s slot but Aseefa was definitely the future of the party.