LAHORE – President Asif Ali Zardari’s supportive remarks about his youngest daughter, Aseefa, during his speech at Garhi Khuda Bakhsh on Tuesday, and Bilawal’s conspicuous absence from the scene led many to believe that she might replace her brother to lead the party at some stage.

‘Aseefa Bhutto will be the flag-bearer and start her journey right from the place where it was dropped by her slain mother to carry on the family tradition of serving the people of Pakistan’, the President observed in his speech.

Many think that President Zardari might have at the back of his mind her daughter’s future political role when he uttered these words on an important occasion in the presence of thousands of party workers and leaders who had gathered there to mark 4th death anniversary of slain Chairperson and former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto.  

After President’s speech, a question is being raised in political circles why Aseefa would be the ‘flag-bearer’ and not her brother Bilawal who is also Co-Chairman of the party and had been attending party meetings in the past three years and who was seen leading from the front in the absence of his father this month.

Critics have also noted that President did not make mention of his son, Bilawal, during his emotional speech even once. 

Many also think that Bilawal should not have missed such an important occasion, the death anniversary of his mother.

President’s kind words for his daughter also give credence to the already existing opinion within the party that Aseefa Bhutto would be more acceptable to the party workers because of her close resemblance with her mother, Benazir Bhutto; and hence, she should lead the party instead of her elder brother. 

When asked about the absence of Bilawal from the party gathering at Garhi Khuda Baksh on Tuesday last, a close aide of President Zardari said that in fact none of his children including Bakhtawar and Aseefa were present on that occasion.

‘Security reasons might have prevented them to stay away from the event’, he further said.

When asked about President’s special mention of Aseefa and giving her of a leading role in the party, he replied that one should not read too much into the statement as President would mention his youngest child on different occasions.

‘She is too young (17 to 18 years old) to be assigned any political role instead of her brother, who is doing well’, he remarked, also rejecting the speculation that Bilawal had no interest in politics.