ISLAMABAD - Former President Asif Ali Zardari’s older daughter Bakhtawar Bhutto Zardari will not contest the July general elections as Bilawal Bhutto Zardari and Aseefa Bhutto Zardari prepare to file the nomination papers.

This will be the first election for the Pakistan People’s Party’s young chief and his sister. Zardari, the PPP co-Chairman, had earlier announced that Bakhtawar will also contest the elections but she is seemingly not interested.

A senior PPP leader, who is part of the board finalising tickets for the candidates, told The Nation that Bakhtawar had not shown interest in contesting the polls.

“She is not contesting. Zardari, Bilawal and Aseefa will contest the polls from different constituencies in Sindh,” said the PPP leader.

Yesterday, the PPP Central Election Board held a meeting to discuss nominations of party candidates from South Punjab for next general elections at the Bilawal House in Karachi.

Bilawal and Zardari co-chaired the meeting. Others present during the meeting included former Prime Ministers Yousuf Raza Gilani, Raja Pervez Ashraf, Senator Sherry Rehman, Farhatullah Babar, Nayyar Hussain Bukhari, Faryal Talpur, former Chief Minister Syed Qaim Ali Shah, Naveed Qamar, President PPP South Punjab Makhdoom Ahmed Mahmood, General Secretary Natasha Daultana, and Shazia Abid.

Reports said that Bilawal and Aseefa had obtained their nomination papers. Bilawal will take part in the polls from Larkana NA-200 and Lyari NA-246 constituency while Aseefa will contest from PS-10 Ratto-Daro. However, a PPP statement said the constituencies and tickets had not been decided as yet.

Bakhtawar was named the party’s social media chief in October 2015, fuelling speculation that she may eventually join her brother Bilawal as a PPP co-chairperson.

Her grandmother Nusrat Bhutto had led the PPP after the execution of Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, and her martyred mother Benazir Bhutto was leader from November 1982 to December 2007.

This was Bakhtawar’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.

Unlike her older brother and younger sister, Bakhtawar had 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. 

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 Bhutto.

This month, former Chief Justice Nasirul Mulk took oath as caretaker Prime Minister after the Pakistan Muslim League (Nawaz) completed its five-year term on May 31.

The end of the five-year term of the PML-N government paved way for a caretaker set-up to conduct general election. President Mamnoon Hussain has approved July 25 for the general election, which will see more than 100 million voters to vote for both the national and provincial assemblies.

The PML-N, the PPP and the PTI are aiming to form the next federal government. For now, the three major parties have expressed the expectations that Mulk will oversee the general election as a neutral interim PM.

 

SHAFQAT ALI