The Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) Patron-in-Chief and torch-bearer of the Bhutto dynasty, Bilawal Bhutto Zardari, has turned twenty-five; a notable occasion, as he now stands eligible to contest elections in Pakistan. While his father, former President Asif Ali Zardari, struggles to steer the PPP through difficult times, supporters and the opponents turn their attention to the young gentleman, whose personality still remains elusive due to limited exposure.

The fact that the PPP today is nothing like the party it was thirty year ago, even five for that matter, is indisputable. It rose from nothing, rallying record crowds wherever it went, with its appealing promise of public welfare and empowerment, and thus established itself as an undeniable reality for decades to follow. However, the ideology that was once the backbone of the party, is now hard to find.

Several people, who were the guardians of the party ideology and its mission, saw themselves sidelined due to political expedience or matters unknown. As the ‘loyalists’ faded way, former adversaries and backbenchers became the new face of the party.  A face scarred with allegations of corruption and incompetence, which saw masses turning away from it in the May 2013 elections. Being the son of the remarkable Mohtarma Benazir, there is no one better equipped to rejuvenate the old spirit.

Bilawal, in the face of these enormous challenges, has two options available to him. He can either be passive, let it all slide, or see this occasion as an opportunity to set things right. He must not forget that the position which he occupies is a rare gift, bestowed upon a lucky few in their entire lifetimes. If he wants the respect his grandfather and mother once commanded, he will have to be more than just the ‘heir to the throne’. The youth in particular, and the masses in general, have started to raise their voice against dynastic politics. The only way he can counter the developing phenomenon is by rising to the challenge and inspiring, rather than resting on his familial laurels.

PPP workers and 'jiyalas', though still exuberant, feel themselves at unprecedented distance from the leadership. Bilawal must realise that the workers are his party’s greatest strength. There is no bigger threat to the future of PPP than abandonment by its loyal supporters. He must make a conscious effort to bring these invaluable assets back into the fold. Yes, his elders have made mistakes, big mistakes. But, now is the time to correct them, not just defend them. It is sincerely hoped that the future of the party has learnt from its past.