Lozenges were in order once Pakistan Peoples’ Party (PPP) Chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari was done addressing a rally in Karachi to pay tribute to the victims of the 2007 Karsaz attack. The young man was hoarse from his speech, which may not have been one of the best Bhutto speeches, but was a valiant effort.

Benazir Bhutto left Bilawal Zardari a huge legacy, which he has not been able to capitalise on yet, and time is running out. The PPP, especially in Sindh, was built on Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto’s cult of personality, and Benazir was able to successfully take the mantle. That support is thinning, and has almost disappeared from Punjab and more and more people in the future will be voting for the party that they feel represents them, rather than that of kinship ties.

It has not helped that Asif Ali Zardari was not a Bhutto, and could not fill the vacuum under his regency over the dynastic party. Sitting in Dubai, he can very well direct the play, but without a Bhutto as the face of the party, he does not mean much to the people. This is a small mercy, as we would rather not see another international “Bhai” figure taking shape, not only manipulating puppets, but also having a cult. Zardari does not have a cult but Bilawal can if he can ever be seen as not standing in the shadow of his father.

MQM-London is trying to make a comeback too as major factions MQM-Pakistan and Pak Sarzameen Party (PSP) have torn the party apart. Bilawal is trying to change the party’s narrative on Karachi to win over the Muhajir vote. If the PPP wins in interior Sindh again in the next elections, and secures a few more seats in Karachi and Hyderabad, it will help the party’s bargaining position in the next elections in case of a split mandate. The aim is six to seven seats in Karachi against two at present and thus the PPP is concentrating on the city.

“We will together bring freedom from terrorism, for Kashmiris, from poverty, unemployment, illiteracy, sectarianism, from the caretakers of religion - and bring freedom from ‘Takht-e-Raiwind’,” shouted Bilawal, only rhetoric if the recent performance of the PPP is anything to go by. However, ‘gaining power’ has never equated to ‘keeping promises’, and there is a little room in the game for the PPP to come back. Bilawal sounded a lot like his mother as he spoke, and her echo may be able to take him forward a long way.