Bilawal Bhutto Zardari, the 24-year-old son of former Pakistan premier Benazir Bhutto and President Asif Ali Zardari, launched his political career in front of 200,000 plus gathering at the family mausoleum in Pakistan's Sindh province on Thursday, coinciding the fifth anniversary of his mother's assassination
The oxford-educated Bhutto was formally named chairman of the ruling Pakistan People's Party following his mother's death, but he couldn't contest elections as he was below 25 years - the minimum age to contest elections in Pakistan. Bhutto will turn 25 in September next year.
His mother, Benazir Bhutto twice elected prime minister of Pakistan, was assassinated in a gun and suicide attack after an election campaign rally in Rawalpindi on December 27, 2007. Her assassins were never caught.
Bhutto was barely 19-year-old when his mother was killed, and kept a low profile for the past five years despite being named the chairman of PPP. He is now looked upon as a man to lead Pakistan in the future as he is expected to take up active politics.
"This is his political career's first public meeting. A new Bhutto is emerging today in the shape of Bilawal who has vision of his mother and grandfather and people are excited on his launching," his spokesman Aijaz Durrani told AFP.
Appointing Bhutto as the PPP chairperson is a strategic move by the Party as the party has been led by a member of Bhutto clan since its inception by Benazir's father, Zulfikar Ali Bhutto. Although his father Zardari took over the Party after Benazir Bhutto's death, he never emerge as a popular leader. Zardari has remained unpopular among the masses and is tainted with corruption allegations.
Junior Bhutto is considered as the trump card of PPP in the next elections, as he is expected to bring in fresh blood in the Party.
"Bilawal has symbolic value in the Bhutto family and Zardari would like this link to be used as symbolism in the election," Hasan Askari told AFP.
Bilawal Bhutto Zardari, following in the tradition of generations, will prove to be an important turning point for democracy and politics," said Prime Minister Raja Pervez Ashraf. "This journey will continue forward," Reuters reported.