Bilawal Bhutto Zardari, despite leading a life which never escapes attention from friends and foes alike, still remains a relatively unknown commodity in the political market of Pakistan. However, with every public appearance and word spoken, the people get an opportunity to get a glimpse of what the PPP Patron-in-Chief is all about. But, the questions still far outweigh the answers: Who is he really? Does he lean left like his mother, Benazir Bhutto and grandfather, Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, or is he all over the scale, resembling the PPP’s recent government? Does he have more in common with his remarkable mother, including the heavily-accented Urdu and an ability to deliver passionate speeches? Time will tell.
The fiery speech on Friday, the content of it as well as the delivery, would suggest that maybe the PPP has decided to redefine his role in politics considering that he now stands eligible to contest elections. No one was spared his wrath. PML-N, the ruling party which has been assured of co-operation by Asif Ali Zardari, saw the bad cop at work. In an exhibition of courage, the frequent Twitter user Bilawal severely criticised PTI and its chairman over its cowardly stance on the issue of terrorism. He also gave himself and his party a pat on the back for having effectively dealt with tense situations in Islamabad such as Tahir-ul-Qadri sit-in and the Sikandar standoff; the city clearly has a knack for being graced with the presence of uninvited guests who refuse to leave. Although, it is understandable that the political culture of this country requires leaders to use the usually well-received rhetoric and engage in opponent-bashing in order to excite supporters, it would still be wise to at least, not appear so enthusiastic while doing so, and abstain from it whenever possible. Bilawal should take advantage of the fact that he is not just a Bhutto, but a Zardari too. While being a Bhutto means cut-throat politics and highly-charged speeches full of rhetoric and sacrifice if time demands, being a Zardari means possessing an ability to calmly achieve political objectives and conducting oneself in a dignified manner which is crucial conduct for personalities in such key positions.
The next few months will shed more light on the query whether this speech, which has engrossed the public, aimed to achieve anything more than just that. One thing, however, can be said with certainty; the amateur has taken his nascent steps and seems he has the stamina to go a long way.