Aseefa Bhutto-Zardari’s address at the opposition Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM) rally here yesterday marked the launch of her political career. She became the second female from a national political family, after Pakistan Muslim League – Nawaz (PML-N)’s Maryam Nawaz, to step into the ring.
In her maiden but brief speech, the daughter of late prime minister Benazir Bhutto, showed flashes of her illustrious mother’s trademark high-pitched tone and mannerisms as she declared the people of the country had decided to send the “selected government” of Prime Minister Imran Khan packing.
“I pay tribute to all the party workers and activists that despite all hurdles created by the ‘selected government’, people have gathered in large numbers here,” she noted.
Aseefa said she came in Multan on behalf of his brother and Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) chairman Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari, who went into isolation after contracting coronavirus last week.
“If our workers are arrested then our women leaders are ready to face all challenges.”
The decision to engage Aseefa at the Multan rally was taken after Bilawal tested positive for Covid-19.
“An impression has been created that he (Bilawal) is trying to distance himself from the PDM and is at odds with former prime minister and PML-N supremo Nawaz Sharif and (Jamiat Ulema Islam chief) Fazlur Rehman’s policy of targeting the security establishment and naming individuals during PDM speeches.
To counter this perception, it was deemed suitable that someone from Zardari family should actively be part of the PDM Multan gathering and Aseefa was the natural choice,” a PPP lawmaker disclosed on condition of anonymity.
The decision to involve Aseefa in Multan gathering was taken by her father and former president Asif Ali Zardari in consultation with Bilawal. “She (Aseefa) was more than happy to be part of Multan rally,” a source added.
Compared to her older sister Bakhtawar, who got engaged on Friday, Aseefa takes a keen interest in politics, often exchanging notes with her father and brother on political issues, the source said.
Senior PPP leader Naveed Chaudhry said Aseefa was already active in Sindh’s politics where she was assisting her aunt Faryal Talpur in political matters. “She (Aseefa) has done commendable work in Sindh in the fight against polio.
She also actively assists Faryal Talpur in other social work. Now, the party has decided to involve her in mainstream politics,” he said.
Chaudhry said Bilawal would virtually address Multan rally and his speech would deal with issues concerning PDM and the government.
Aseefa’s speech mostly focused on PPP in connection with the party’s Foundation Day (November 30) that coincides with the rally.
To a query, the PPP leader said the party’s Central Executive Committee (CEC) would decide what responsibility should be entrusted to Aseefa in future. “It’s teamwork and she would be a part of it. Bilawal is the captain of the team,” Chaudhry said.
A PPP senator, requesting not to be named, said it would not be fair to compare Aseefa with Maryam Nawaz. “Maryam was around 40 when she started actively pursuing her political ambitions back in the year 2013 when her father was elected prime minister.
Before that she was a housewife and raising her children. She joined politics out of her free will when her father became the PM and her children had grown up. Now, she is 47. On the other hand, Aseefa is 28.
She is stepping into mainstream politics at a time when her family and party are in deep trouble. Her father is facing serious corruption cases and is not visibly active on the political scene. These circumstances have necessitated her joining politics in support of her brother and the party.”
PML-N chairman Raja Zafar-ul-Haq welcomed Aseefa’s participation in Multan rally. “It is very encouraging to see that she (Aseefa) is following into the footsteps of her great mother and getting actively involved in politics.
“Her participation at the PDM gathering is a valuable addition for all of us that would further strengthen PDM,” he said.
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