PPP Chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari has been “partially” authorised by his father Asif Ali Zardari to handle matters of the party and the Sindh government.
Sources close to the Zardari family told Dawn that finally the party co-chairman and former president Asif Zardari agreed to give ‘some space’ to the party chairman (who otherwise is fully authorised to run the party by virtue of his office) to take some decisions using ‘his own wisdom’.
But, the ‘junior’ is not given the mandate to ‘hire or fire’ someone in the party on his own, the sources say. Earlier, Mr Zardari had said his son needed time to “get politically mature” and asked him to wait for an “appropriate time” when the party’s reins would be handed over to him. “Zardari sahib has given a certain mandate to young Bilawal to run the affairs of the party and the Sindh government. During the last one week or so Bilawal presided over a number of meetings from PPP legislators of Sindh Assembly to Punjab leaders (who are responsible for running the party affairs in the largest province).
Bilawal told the Sindh government to improve governance while he listened to the Punjab party leaders patiently and asked them to wait till Eid as he will make certain decisions on his arrival in Lahore next month,” an aide of Mr Zardari said, seeking anonymity. He said though the co-chairman accepted the demand of most of the PPP leaders that Bilawal should be given some mandate to run the party, he was cautiously watching over the young man.
“You see despite calls from the party ranks to change the leadership in Punjab, Bilawal did not rush to take any decision in haste, showing that perhaps he is not given ‘hire and fire’ powers at this stage,” he said. Mr Zardari’s spokesman Senator Farhatullah Babar told Dawn that Mr Bilawal was PPP’s chairman and he had become more “active” in the party affairs. “Mr Bilawal has been holding meetings with the party leaders and legislators on a daily basis and he knows to what extent he has to assert himself (in party affairs)”, Mr Babar said. When asked if Mr Bilawal had been given ‘power’ to call shots in the party and Sindh government affairs, the PPP Senator said:
“Mr Bilawal will take decisions in consultation with party leaders.” The PPP leaders Dawn spoke to on Sunday expressed their satisfaction over the reappearance of Mr Bilawal on the political scene after a gap of seven months or so. His skipping the party’s founding day function last November and extending his stay in London had led to widespread speculation about his “differences” with his father over different issues including not getting a role in running the party.