Bilawal Bhutto Zardari
|Bilawal Bhutto Zardari
بلاول ڀٽو زرداري
|Chairman of the Pakistan Peoples Party|
30 December 2007
|Preceded by||Benazir Bhutto|
21 September 1988 |
Karachi, Sindh, Pakistan
|Political party||Pakistan Peoples Party|
|Parents||Asif Ali Zardari
|Relatives||Zardari family (by father)
Bhutto family (by mother)
|Residence||Bilawal House, Karachi|
|Alma mater||University of Oxford|
Bilawal Bhutto Zardari (Sindhi: بلاول ڀٽو زرداري; Urdu: بلاول بھٹو زرداری; born 21 September 1988) is a Pakistani politician who serves as the Leader of the centre-left Pakistan Peoples Party.
Born in Karachi, to two politically prominent Shia families of Pakistan, the Bhutto family and the Zardari family, he is the son of the President Asif Ali Zardari and the Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto, the grandson of Prime Minister Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto and his wife, Iranian immigrant Nusrat Bhutto.
Zardari received his undergraduate and graduate degrees in history from the Christ Church–University of Oxford. He was made the ceremonial head of Pakistan People's Party after his mother's assassination in 2007, and in 2014 he took over the control of the party from his father. Zardari intends to run for a seat in the National Assembly from NA-204 (Larkana) in early 2017 through a by-election.
Early life and education
Zardari was born at Lady Dufferin Hospital in Karachi, Pakistan on 21 September 1988, as the first of three children of future Prime Minister of Pakistan Benazir Bhutto and her husband, Asif Ali Zardari who later became the President of Pakistan in 2008. He was only three months old when his mother, Benazir Bhutto became the first female Prime Minister of Pakistan in 1988. He has two sisters Bakhtawar and Asifa. He is the grandson of former Prime Minister Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto and Nusrat Bhutto. His maternal uncles Murtaza and Shahnawaz, and aunt Ghinwa (Murtaza's wife) as well as his paternal grandfather Hakim Ali Zardari, and aunts Azra and Faryal are all politicians. His cousin, Fatima Bhutto, is a poet and writer.
Zardari was admitted to Aitchison College, Lahore, but due to security threats he moved to Karachi Grammar School and later attended Froebel's International School in Islamabad. His father was in jail in Pakistan from 1996 to 2004 for corruption charges. He left Pakistan with his mother and sisters in April 1999. He spent his childhood in Dubai and London during his family's self-exile. He later attended Rashid School For Boys in Dubai, where he was Vice President of the student council. He has a black belt in Taekwondo but regrets he could not play cricket because of his family circumstances.
In 2007, Bilawal Zardari enrolled at Christ Church, a constituent college of the University of Oxford. He studied British history and later transitioned to study general history. Zardari also enrolled in the Oxford Union debating society. In December 2007, he returned to Pakistan after Benazir was assassinated. He also returned to Pakistan in September 2008 to witness his father sworn in as President of Pakistan. Bilawal completed his education in June 2010.
A bomb-proof state-of-the art Bilawal House, spreading over 116 kanals of construction on a 200 kanal [one kanal is equivalent to 500 sq yards in Lahore] piece of land in Bahria Town Lahore, was completed for Bilawal, handed over to his father President Zardari in February 2013. The whole project was constructed by one property tycoon Malik Riaz; a fort-like purpose-built building with spacious lawns, conference rooms, staterooms, bed rooms and offices.
Bilawal House was completed at a cost of Rs:5 billion [£40 million]; the house also keeps a helipad and airstrip for landing of small planes. The 22 ft high boundary wall, having thickness of 30 inches, was built using concrete and steel material to make it bomb-proof. The place has the capacity of accommodating around 10,000 people.
A bunker also exists in the basement for security purposes. Malik Riaz presented this house as gift to Bilawal to strengthen his friendship with the Zardari family. There is no record of this huge property with Pakistani Tax masters; in Pakistan it is a routine practice.
After the assassination of Benazir Bhutto, her political will declared Asif Ali Zardari as Bhutto's successor for party leadership. However, Zardari became Chairman of the Pakistan Peoples Party because the elder Zardari favoured him to represent Bhutto's legacy in part to avoid division within the party due to the elder Zardari's own unpopularity. Zardari planned to act as co-chairman of the PPP for at least three years until the younger Zardari completed his studies overseas.
Zardari was appointed chairman of the PPP on 30 December 2007. Asif Zardari also announced his son's name change from "Bilawal Zardari" to "Bilawal Bhutto Zardari". At that time he was still studying at Oxford. It had been estimated that Zardari's security at Oxford may cost at least one million pounds each year.
In 2011, Zardari returned to Pakistan and became more actively involved in Pakistan politics, notably when his father went for medical care to Dubai in December 2011. In May 2012, Bilawal Zardari stated that Pakistan asked the Interpol to issue a "red warrant" against former military ruler Pervez Musharraf in relation to his mother’s assassination case. He made his major public speech on 27 December 2012, which marked the fifth death anniversary of his mother. In 2011, it was announced that Zardari would be the next Chief of the Zardari tribe as his father Asif Ali Zardari passed on the title to Zardari rather than becoming the Tribal Chief himself after the death of his father Hakim Ali Zardari. In 2013 Zardari turned 25, thus becoming eligible to run for the National Assembly, as the Pakistan Constitution requires the minimum age of lawmakers to be 25. Asif Ali Zardari rejected the notion that Zardari might run for the by-election seat but said that he will contest the next general election due in 2018.
According to Dawn, Bilawal possesses a "decidedly more liberal and secular ideology". On 11 January 2011, Bilawal strongly criticized and condemned the murder of Salmaan Taseer over his objection of the blasphemy law. On December 4, 2016, Bilawal proposed an alliance of liberal parties for 2018 elections. On October 31, 2016, Bilawal joined Karachi's Hindu community in celebrating Diwali, and on 25 December 2016 he visited the Saint Patrick's Cathedral to mark Christmas celebrations.
While addressing the party workers in Multan region in Punjab on 19 September 2014, Zardari proclaimed that he would take all of Kashmir from India, without explaining how he proposed to do so. “I will take back Kashmir, all of it, and I will not leave behind a single inch of it because like the other provinces, it belongs to Pakistan,” he was quoted as saying. The statement drew sharp criticism in neighbouring India. A group calling themselves the Indian Hackers Online Squad replaced the PPP's official website's homepage with messages ridiculing Zardari for his comments, and stating that “[You] will never get Kashmir”.
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- "Bilawal celebrates Diwali with Hindu community". www.thenews.com.pk. Retrieved 2016-12-27.
- "Bilawal visits St Patrick’s Church to mark Christmas Celebrations". Business Recorder e-Paper. 2016-12-26. Retrieved 2016-12-27.
- "I will take back entire Kashmir from India: Bilawal Bhutto Zardari". The Times of India. Retrieved 16 April 2015.
- The Newspaper's Correspondent. "India terms Bilawal’s Kashmir statement ‘far from reality’". dawn.com. Retrieved 16 April 2015.
- "Indian hackers deface PPP website". dawn.com. Retrieved 16 April 2015.
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- Musharraf 'murdered my mother': Bilawal Bhutto Zardari, Geo News Pakistan, 28 May 2012]
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|Party political offices|
|Co-chairman of the Pakistan Peoples Party
With Asif Ali Zardari