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Bilawal Bhutto Zardari, born on September 21, 1988, is a prominent Pakistani politician and scion of the Bhutto family. Following the tragic assassination of his mother, Benazir Bhutto, in 2007, Bilawal assumed the role of Chairman of the Pakistan People’s Party (PPP).

A graduate of Oxford University, he played a pivotal role in leading the PPP during the 2018 general elections, resulting in the party becoming the largest in Sindh and the third-largest in the country.

Bhutto scion Bilawal focuses on Pakistan’s youth, climate change

Taking oath as a member of the National Assembly on August 13, 2018, Bilawal’s advocacy revolves around principles of democracy, human rights, and social justice. He has been an outspoken critic of the presidential system, a defender of freedom of expression, and a proponent of women’s rights, actively opposing child marriages.

Bilawal served as the Foreign Minister of Pakistan from April 27, 2022, to August 10, 2023, during the PDM’s government. Notably, he adopted a resolute stance on the Kashmir issue, asserting Pakistan’s right over the region.

Despite his stronghold in Larkana, Bilawal is also contesting elections from various NA constituencies including Lahore’s NA-127, anchoring his campaign in a ten-point agenda. This agenda encompasses initiatives such as the youth card, the creation of jobs, the provision of low-cost houses, and the promise of free electricity for underprivileged households.

General Election 2024: Some key players and their electoral background

Bilawal’s political approach revolves around youth appeal and ambitious plans to combat climate change. As the general elections approach on February 8, the 35-year-old, if successful, aims to become the youngest premier since his mother Benazir was in office. He emphasises the need for new ideas and leadership to address political and economic instability, targeting the aspirations of Pakistan’s predominantly young population.

Despite being a member of Pakistan’s most powerful political dynasty, Bilawal faces challenges as the PPP has lost ground to other major parties. Positioning himself as an alternative in 2024, he called on PTI supporters to vote for him while their leader is in jail. In previous elections, the PPP secured significant parliamentary seats, but Bilawal ruled out joining hands with other major contenders, expressing a preference for forming a government with independent candidates.

Change of guard?: veterans make way for new blood

While some analysts view Bilawal as a potential dark horse candidate, others consider the role of prime minister a tough goal for him, citing the PPP’s struggle to build political strength. The 2024 elections, poised for an open contest, will determine the political trajectory of Bilawal Bhutto Zardari, a figure with a legacy shaped by tragedy, education, and a commitment to progressive ideals.

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