December 29, 2016 8:41:43 pm
Bilawal Bhutto is set to be the leader of the Opposition in Pakistan’s National Assembly after he is elected to parliament, according to media reports today. The 24-year-old scion of the influential Bhutto family will replace Khursheed Shah, 64, as the leader of the opposition, The Express Tribune reported.
Oxford-educated Bilawal is currently Chairman of the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP). The news of Bilawal’s expected elevation was made public by none other than Shah himself, the paper said. It came a day after PPP Co-chairman Asif Zardari announced that Bilawal would contest a by-election for a parliamentary seat from Larkana, the hometown of the Bhutto family in Sindh province. “Bilawal Bhutto will be the leader of the opposition and I will assist him as his adviser while his father will also guide him on parliamentary politics,” Shah told journalists in Sukkur, Sindh province, last night.
Bilawal is the son of former President Asif Ali Zardari and the slain prime minister Benazir Bhutto, and the grandson of late prime minister Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto. A PPP spokesperson, when asked for clarification on Shah’s statements and any change in the PPP’s stance on the matter, said that it is possible that Bilawal may become the Opposition leader.
When asked whether Bilawal would be the new opposition leader or not, the spokesperson told Dawn newspaper that: “It is obvious. He [Bilawal] is the party head. He will become [the opposition leader].” The PPP insists this decision is not made all of sudden, but after long consultation.
“PPP’s Central Executive Committee and Federal Council had been taken into confidence over by-elections and Bilawal’s nomination for the slot of opposition leader,” PPP Federal Council member Lal Bux Bhutto told The Express Tribune. “Like his mother, Bilawal has the potential but he lacks exposure in parliamentary politics. But there is no harm in it. Benazir Bhutto was also junior than others when she had taken over as prime minister in 1988,” he said.
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