Bilawal Bhutto Zardari

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Bilawal Bhutto Zardari
Bilawal Bhutto Zardari, Women's World Awards 2009.jpg
Chairman of the Pakistan Peoples Party
Assumed office
30 December 2007
Preceded by Benazir Bhutto
Personal details
Born (1988-09-21) 21 September 1988 (age 27)
Karachi, Sindh, Pakistan
Nationality Pakistan Pakistani
Political party Pakistan Peoples Party
Relations Zardari family
Bhutto family
Residence Karachi, Pakistan
Dubai, United Arab Emirates
Alma mater Christ Church, Oxford
Religion Islam[1]
Website PPP website

Bilawal Bhutto Zardari (Urdu: بلاول بھٹو زرداری‎; Sindhi: بلاول ڀٽو زرداري‎; born 21 September 1988) is a Pakistani politician who serves as the Chairman of the Pakistan Peoples Party and presides over the party's executive committee. Born in the political Bhutto dynasty,[2] he is the only son of former President Asif Ali Zardari and former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto, while his grandfather, Zulfikar Ali Bhutto also led Pakistan during the 1970s. He officially started his political career on 18 October 2014 by addressing a mass rally in Karachi.[3]

Early life and education[edit]

See also: Bhutto family
See also: Zardari family

Bilawal 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 Bhutto Zardari and Asifa Bhutto Zardari.[4] He is also the grandson of former Prime Minister Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto.[5]

Bilawal 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.[6] He left Pakistan with his mother in April 1999. His father was in jail in Pakistan from 1996 to 2004 for corruption charges.[7]

He spent his childhood in Dubai and London during his family's self-exile.[5] He later attended Rashid School For Boys in Dubai, where he was Vice President of the student council.[8] He has a black belt in Taekwondo but regrets he could not play cricket because of his family circumstances.[5]

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.[4] Benazir also enrolled in the Oxford Union debating society.[9] 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.[10] Bilawal completed his education in June 2010.[11][12][13]

Political career[edit]

Benazir Bhutto carrying Bilawal at Andrews Air Force Base upon her arrival for a state visit to the United States in 1989

After the assassination of Benazir Bhutto, Benazir's political will declared Asif Ali Zardari as Benazir's successor for party leadership.[14][15][16] However, Bilawal became Chairman of the Pakistan Peoples Party because Zardari favoured Bilawal to represent Bhutto's legacy in part to avoid division within the party due to Zardari's own unpopularity.[14][15][17] Zardari planned to act as co-chairman of the PPP for at least three years until Bilawal completed his studies overseas.[14][16][17]

Bilawal was appointed chairman of the PPP on 30 December 2007.[18] Asif Zardari also announced Bilawal's name change from "Bilawal Zardari" to "Bilawal Bhutto Zardari".[19] At that time he was still studying at Oxford.[20] It had been estimated that Bilawal's security at Oxford may cost at least one million pounds each year.[21]

In 2011, Bilawal returned to Pakistan[22] and became more actively involved in Pakistan politics, notably when his father went for medical care to Dubai in December 2011.[23] 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.[24] He made his major public speech on 27 December 2012, which marked the fifth death anniversary of his mother.[25]

In 2011, it was announced that Bilawal would be the next Tumandar (Chief) of the Baloch Zardari tribe as his father Asif Ali Zardari passed on the title to Bilawal rather than becoming the Tribal Chief himself after the death of his father Hakim Ali Zardari.[26]

In 2013 Bilawal 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 Bilawal might run for the by-election seat but said that he will contest the next general election due in 2018.[27]


While addressing the party workers in Multan region in Punjab on 19 September 2014, Bilawal proclaimed that he would take all of Kashmir from India, without explaining how he proposed to do so.[28]

“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.[29]

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 Bilawal for his comments, and stating that “[You] will never get Kashmir”.[30]

“To Citizens of Pakistan, Pakistan's Army, Pakistan Peoples Party and Specially Mr. Bilawal Bhutto. Without any Violence... Let Me tell you that Pakistan will never Get Kashmir. This is the Truth. You Have to Accept it,” said the message left by the hackers on the PPP official website.[31]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Bilawal Zardari Bhutto for resurrection of Quaid’s Pakistan". 11 January 2011. 
  2. ^ "Bhutto's son launches political career". Retrieved 16 April 2015. 
  3. ^ "Pakistan: Bilawal Bhutto Zardari leads first PPP rally". BBC News. Retrieved 16 April 2015. 
  4. ^ a b "Profile: Bilawal Bhutto Zardari". Telegraph. 31 December 2007. Retrieved 2 December 2011. 
  5. ^ a b c "Benazir's son regrets he couldn't play cricket". The Times of India. 30 December 2007. Retrieved 30 December 2007. 
  6. ^ "PPP chairman Bilawal leaves for Oxford". Sify News. Archived from the original on 4 January 2008. Retrieved 8 January 2008. 
  7. ^ Masood, Salman (23 November 2004). "After 8 Years in Jail, Husband of Bhutto Is Free". Retrieved 16 July 2011. 
  8. ^ Robinson, Simon (29 December 2007). "Bhutto's Successor". Time. Archived from the original on 29 June 2011. Retrieved 12 July 2011. 
  9. ^ Britten, Nick (1 January 2008). "Security assessment for Bilawal Bhutto Zardari". Telegraph. Retrieved 2 December 2011. 
  10. ^ Wilkinson, Isambard (9 September 2008). "Benazir Bhutto's widower Asif Ali Zardari sworn in as Pakistan president". The Telegraph (London). Archived from the original on 12 September 2008. Retrieved 23 September 2008. 
  11. ^ "Profile: Bilawal Bhutto". BBC. 30 December 2007. Archived from the original on 1 January 2008. Retrieved 30 December 2007. 
  12. ^ Britten, Nick (1 January 2008). "Security assessment for Bilawal Bhutto Zardari". London: The Daily Telegraph. Archived from the original on 2 January 2008. Retrieved 1 January 2008. 
  13. ^ Sengupta, Somini (31 December 2007). "Opposition Parties Vow to Proceed With Jan. 8 Election". The New York Times. Archived from the original on 1 January 2008. Retrieved 1 January 2008. 
  14. ^ a b c "Bhutto's Son, Husband To Lead Party". 11 February 2009. Retrieved 19 March 2011. 
  15. ^ a b Walsh, Declan (1 January 2008). "Zardari Rejects Claim of Al-Qaida Link to Bhutto's Murder". The Guardian. Retrieved 19 March 2011. 
  16. ^ a b Sengupta, Somini (31 December 2007). "Opposition Parties Vow to Proceed With Jan. 8 Election". The New York Times. Retrieved 19 March 2011. 
  17. ^ a b "What's the Deal with Bilawal Bhutto Zardari?". NPR. 31 December 2007. Retrieved 15 July 2011. 
  18. ^ "Bhutto's Son Given Top Party Job". Sky News. Retrieved 30 December 2007. 
  19. ^ Walsh, Declan (31 December 2007). "My mother said democracy is best revenge — Bhutto son". London: The Guardian. Archived from the original on 31 December 2007. Retrieved 31 December 2007. 
  20. ^ "Key party role for Bhutto's son". The Press Association. 30 December 2007. Archived from the original on 2 January 2008. Retrieved 30 December 2007. [dead link]
  21. ^ "Bilawal's security to cost Britain 1 million pounds". Rediff. 14 January 2008. Archived from the original on 17 January 2008. Retrieved 16 January 2008. 
  22. ^ "Pakistan Peoples Party – PPP". Retrieved 16 April 2015. 
  23. ^ Jason Burke (13 December 2011). "Zardari treated for stroke as son Bilawal is groomed for power in Pakistan". The Guardian. Retrieved 14 December 2011. 
  24. ^ "Pakistan has asked Interpol to issue red warrant for Musharraf: Bilawal". The News (Islamabad). 28 May 2012. Retrieved 27 December 2012. 
  25. ^ "Bhutto's son makes debut in Pakistan politics". Al Jazeera. 27 December 2012. Retrieved 27 December 2012. 
  26. ^ "Bilawal Bhutto Zardari to be new chief of Zardari tribe Formal tribal ceremony of Dastar Bandi". 27 May 2011. Retrieved 6 November 2011. 
  27. ^ "Bilawal qualifies to become MNA". The Nation. Retrieved 16 April 2015. 
  28. ^ "I will take back entire Kashmir from India: Bilawal Bhutto Zardari". The Times of India. Retrieved 16 April 2015. 
  29. ^ The Newspaper's Correspondent. "India terms Bilawal’s Kashmir statement ‘far from reality’". Retrieved 16 April 2015. 
  30. ^ "Indian hackers deface PPP website". Retrieved 16 April 2015. 
  31. ^ "Hackers deface Pakistan People's Party website; ridicule Bilawal Bhutto". dna. Retrieved 16 April 2015. 

External links[edit]

Party political offices
Preceded by
Benazir Bhutto
Co-chairman of the Pakistan Peoples Party
With Asif Ali Zardari