ISLAMABAD - PPP chief Bilawal Bhutto Zardari yesterday dodged queries regarding the return of his father Asif Ali Zardari from a so-called self-imposed exile.

Zardari has been abroad since he made a controversial speech in June last year, warning Generals to stop victimising his party or he would expose their ‘misdeeds.’

Last week, the PPP leader said that the office of the President should be abolished as it was a burden on the national exchequer. His party said that the comments were made in a lighter vein.

Bilawal, who addressed the third workshop on human trafficking, organised by the International Conference of Asian Political Parties here, avoided to speak to the journalists but made a brief comment to a volley of questions about his father’s return to the country.

“I think we should speak about the international issues today,” he said before rushing out of sight.

Earlier, in his address on human trafficking, Bilawal said that all the parties including the PPP, PML-N, PTI and others needed to work together to counter the menace.

He said that the world had to unite to eradicate human smuggling as it had become a global threat.

“No party or country alone can stamp out human smuggling. Its a global issue and needs global efforts. Human trafficking is a stain on the collective conscience of the humanity and an unacceptable barbarity and a new form of slavery,” he said.

Bilawal said that the whole world also needed to work jointly against terrorism as no country alone could eliminate the evil.

He said that human smuggling was a form of slavery. “Its the slavery of the 21st century. We need to fight it out,” he added.

He said that Asia was the biggest victim of terrorism and the regional countries must join hands for united stand against the common enemies.

He said that the Asian countries should make an alliance against terrorism like they were jointly highlighting the human smuggling.

Bilawal believed the new global realities had thrust upon mankind new challenges that were beyond the capacity of any single State or a single political party.

He said that the PPP was closely affiliated with the Asian Parliamentary parties as his mother Benazir Bhutto was the founder member of the ICAPP.

Referring to the fact that the ICAPP Islamabad moot had been organised by four political parties of Pakistan including the PPP, PML-N, PML (Quaid-e-Azam) and PTI, Bilawal said it had raised the hopes of achieving much more in collectively fighting the evils facing mankind.

Speaking on the occasion, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Governor Iqbal Zafar Jhagra said that the human smuggling was a global issue which invited immediate attention. He said that the government needed the support of all the Opposition parties to bring an end to the practice.

Jhagra said that the government was making all efforts to control human smuggling but awareness was the key to counter it.

The Governor contended that the poverty and terrorism were directly linked with the human smuggling. “Human smuggling is a heinous crime and only strict punishments to the promoters of such practices will discourage its growth,” the PML-N stalwart maintained. The ICAPP represents some 300 political parties in more than 50 countries. The two day international conference of ICAPP concluded after adopting Islamabad statement that reaffirmed “commitment to continue combat against this most heinous act of violence” and adopted an Action Plan focusing on raising public awareness, mapping trans-border cooperation and establishing a fast track prosecution system, through creating synergies among all stake holders.

PPP spokesperson Senator Farhatullah Babar said that the two-day moot was participated by representatives of various political parties from India, Afghanistan, Azerbaijan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Cambodia, Malaysia, Myanmar, Palestine, Pakistan and others.

In addition several international organisations also attended the workshop.