Bilawal Bhutto Zardari has left for Dubai after a tiff with his father,President Asif Ali Zardari,over the affairs of the PPP,leaving the party without its star campaigner for Pakistans general elections.
Bilawal,recently named patron-in-chief of the Pakistan Peoples Party,developed differences with Zardari and his sister,Faryal Talpur,over the partys handling of key issues,including militant violence,sectarian attacks against Shias and the award of party tickets for the polls scheduled for May 11.
Two sources privy to the development said Bilawal had made it clear to his father he felt PPP had not strongly taken up issues like the shooting of teenage activist Malala Yousufzai by Taliban last year and three devastating bomb attacks on Shias in Quetta and Karachi that killed nearly 250 people.
Bilawal was also upset with the PPPs handling of issues that affect the youth,especially in the wake of efforts by other parties like Imran Khans Pakistan Tehrik-e-Insaf to woo the youth ahead of the polls,the sources said.
The 24-year-old nominal chief of the PPP was angered by Faryal Talpurs refusal to award tickets to certain candidates in Sindh that he had recommended,a source said.
Last month,Bilawal had recommended the names of some 200 PPP workers and asked former Sindh chief minister Qaim Ali Shah to give them jobs,but Talpur had intervened,causing bad blood between them, the source said.
Bilawal discussed these matters with his father and sought authority to take decisions in party matters. But Zardari sided with his sister,who plays a key role in the PPPs affairs,the source said.
When Zardari told him that he would be handed over command of the party after he is groomed politically,Bilawal got upset and left for Dubai, a source said.
Matters got so heated on one occasion that a source quoted Bilawal as saying: If I had to vote,even I wouldnt vote for the PPP.
Bilawals abrupt departure for Dubai last week has caused considerable disquiet within the PPP as the party had been banking on him to appeal to voters who have traditionally voted for the Bhutto family.
Bilawal had been projected as the PPPs star campaigner as the President cannot participate in the campaign due to pressure from the courts, a PPP leader said. Without Bilawal,the PPP cannot touch emotions of the people,especially the hardcore PPP workers, a PPP leader said.
The leader said he feared the PPP might not be able to get the Bhutto vote if Bilawal did not take part in the campaign.
PPP leaders have admitted that Bilawal will not be present when the party launches its election campaign on April 4 from Garhi Khuda Buksh,the traditional stronghold of the Bhutto family in Sindh. However,they contended that Bilawal was not participating in the event for security reasons and would instead deliver a telephonic address.