Pakistan People’s Party chief and Bhutto family scion, Bilawal Bhutto Zardari has returned home after nearly seven months amid rumours ranging from security threats, serious differences with his father over political issues, to suffering from a mysterious ailment for which he was purportedly undergoing treatment in London. Asif Ali Zardari also put fuel to the fire in an interview stating that his son needed time to achieve maturity for politics, a statement that embarrassed the devoted followers who believe that the charisma would again come to rescue the party from the lowest levels of popularity across the country. PPP leadership failed to come up with a plausible explanation to justify the long absence of its chairman resulting into a dwindling vote bank in the wake of a very negative image of the Co-Chairman, Asif Ali Zardari. The political opponents also tried to exploit the confusion disregarding even the basics of ethics and norms of a civilized society. He however completed his education obtaining a Masters degree during the period. PPP has never been able to successfully counter the allegation of running the party on the basis of inheritance although it happened in the past only after the unnatural elimination of its previous two Chairmen. Zulfikar Ali Bhutto and his daughter never formally introduced their children in politics at any stage in their lifetime.

Bilawal will have to lead from the front like his mother who skilfully played her cards at almost the same age. He will have to give new hope to party workers and the populace at large, particularly with reference to the war against terrorism. The party’s dismal performance in the elections over the last one year in the country and its abject failure to come up with an effective anti terrorism narrative would need urgent attention of Bilawal Bhutto. The politics of the Peoples Party has always been perceived by its diehard workers as that of the left of the center. The appeasement of the right wing since the assassination of its founder has slowly but progressively inculcated an identity problem amongst the party workers. The leadership does not seem to be ready as yet to learn from its own history of portraying itself as a left wing party, which incidentally is again the need of the hour. The political opponents from the right wing have already filled the ideological space created by the incompetent and corrupt candidates brought forward by the party since the general elections of 1988. Bilawal will need to address these gaps to revitalize the party, which used to have support in all the provinces of Pakistan.