Just like his mother, Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari has had political leadership thrust upon him in his 20s, following the murder of an enigmatic and immensely popular parent. And just like Benazir, he has the other parent as his support-system, to help him through the transition – at least on paper.

But unlike his mother, Bilawal has inherited a putrid skeleton of the Pakistan People’s Party, decomposed to the bare bones in a political environment no longer conducive to ideological binaries, or oxymoronic sloganeering.

Among the paradoxical ideas no longer in high demand is Bhuttoism – Bilawal’s sole political credential.

In a Pakistan where Bhutto is no longer synonymous with anti-establishment politics, working class struggle, women empowerment, religious tolerance or indeed democracy itself, Bilawal has his work cut out giving his half-a-century-old party an identity.

There’s no Zia-ul-Haq to allow PPP to pose as an antithesis either. Especially at a time when Zia’s own apprentice is the closest thing we have to that antithesis.

It is evident that Benazir and Bilawal inherited contrasting Bhuttos.

But Bilawal has also inherited Zardari, who has done his best to discredit his son’s political prowess, and overstretch Bilawal’s runway before the inevitable take-off.

Bilawal’s initial foray into Pakistani politics was characterised by declaring war against the Taliban, at a time when the TTP were still ‘estranged freedom fighters’ and negotiations with them were a part of the election campaigning of both parties that outdid the PPP in the 2013 General Elections.

Now with the popular apologia vis-à-vis Taliban being overturned into decisive action, owing almost entirely to attacks like the APS carnage and Gulshan-e-Iqbal Park massacre more than any political progress, the PPP has had little to offer ideologically that PML-N or PTI won’t.

While PPP was picking up the pieces in rural Sindh, and has been completely wiped off in Punjab, following last year’s local government elections, the ruling party has been successfully wooing the liberals, women and religious minorities – the traditional PPP vote bank.

This leaves PPP grappling with PTI for the ‘not PML-N’ voters, with Bilawal handicapped by a glaring lack of the ‘anti-corruption’ card, which is the ruling party’s Achilles’ heel, and the entirety of PTI’s political manifesto.

It is in these circumstances that Bilawal raised two points this week that could define his politics, and his party’s direction.

‘Politicians have no right to comment or question peoples’ faith. History has thought us politicisation of faith has lethal consequences for all,’ Bilawal tweeted on May 1 after PPP leader and former Prime Minister Raja Parvez Ashraf took ‘credit’ for “breaking the neck of Qadianis (derogatory term for Ahmadis)” in a PPP rally.

‘Dear fellow male politicians, please stop referring to women as ‘our women’. Women aren’t property to be owned. It's 2016 already, stop embarrassing us,’ he tweeted on May 3.

Those that suggest that Twitter, or social media, has no relevance to Pakistani politics or elections, clearly weren’t paying attention to PTI campaigning circa 2011-13.

At a time where the PML-N is passing legislations to protect women against violence, or the PM is celebrating Diwali with Hindus and using the word 'liberal' for Pakistan, Bilawal has pushed the envelope to include Ahmadis’ faith (implicitly) and women's identity.

Notwithstanding valid question marks over Bilawal not naming the community that he was ostensibly lending his support to, it can be argued that neither of these statements is worth any political mileage in a country where even the most liberal of voters resonate bigotry against Ahmadis. A country where we’re still debating whether men should be allowed to beat women or not.

While these issues, in all probably, will be irrelevant in 2018, they could be decisive in the 2020s in capturing the voters that PTI brought out of their living rooms, a significant percentage of which has been usurped by the PML-N.

But, again, unlike the past, modern Pakistani liberalism and its future offshoots would not be defined by anti-Zia rhetoric. And so, those that might hold the Ahmadiyya question as the litmus test of religious moderation in Pakistan, would be – and are – the first to point out that it was Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto whose government excommunicated Ahmadis in 1974 and ‘politicised faith’ that has had ‘lethal consequences’ for Pakistan ever since.

Even so, it is overly quixotic to nullify Bilawal’s endeavours to undo Bhutto’s errors – and they are aplenty – just because he hasn’t explicitly called out his grandfather. This is especially true at a time when his grandfather’s name is all he has to show as political achievement.

While many of us are willing to forgive political leaders twice Bilawal’s age for their own howlers of the past, after witnessing a change of direction, we could offer the same luxury to the 28-year-old vis-à-vis his grandfather’s follies

Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari might just end up being a part of the problem and the solution at the same time. His contribution to being a part of the former would be rendered a coincidence of birth, if he can be a part of the latter.

However, elections in Pakistan are yet to be won and lost over ideological problems and solutions. Bilawal’s first task should be revival in Punjab for PPP, which has a haughty mansion in Bahria Town as the only concrete work that it can showcase in the entire province.

Bilawal would have to win over the loyalty of alienated workers again and rebuild connections with the working class, which was the strength of both his mother and grandfather. And with PML-N being in an accountability fix, now is as good a time as any to present the Punjab vote bank an opposition alternative to PTI.

Bilawal’s sole qualification might be Bhutto genes, as things stand, but unlike his mother the onus is on him to address the dark shades of the Bhutto legacy while simultaneously catering to the loyal Bhuttoists. Bilawal will have to undo many deeds of his grandfather – and his parents – to keep Bhutto alive, and relevant.