Bilawal Bhutto Zardari @BBhuttoZardari: Leading Legacy -by Rubina Qaimkhani

I still remember and cherish Benazir Bhutto carrying Bilawal at Andrews Air Force Base upon her arrival for a state visit to the United States in 1989. This was a great moment to see a great leader who was a beautiful blend of domestic and national responsibilities. It has been my passion to learn great things from leaders whom I have seen working and contributing meaningfully. It was a great pleasure to sit down with Shaheed BB and talk about plenty of topics and know how leaders can communicate a vision that gets people excited and inspired. The leaders are always statesmen and forward looking. The political workers want to work for leaders who are inspiring. Inspiration and vision go hand in hand. BB always said that vision was a fundamental characteristic of inspiring leaders. But what does it mean to have vision? It’s not just the leaders’ vision that’s important. It has to be a shared vision. For a vision to really grab the imagination of a team, it has to incorporate the hopes, dreams, and aspirations of those you are attempting to lead. Shaheed BB like her father did possess a charismatic personality and vision to attract people. Shaheed BB successfully sustained motivated political workers and gave people the energy and confidence to withstand hurdles and challenges on the road to building a successful and democratic Pakistan.
Inspiring leaders “use metaphors and analogies; they give us examples, tell stories, and relate anecdotes.” Metaphors, of course, are everywhere. They include combat and sporting metaphors as well as spiritual metaphors. Metaphors trigger the right hemisphere of the brain, a critical component for persuasion to occur. One of the most famous speeches of our time—Martin Luther King’s I Have A Dream Speech—was notable for its abundant use of metaphor. It is a rewarding experience when I hear a young Bilwal following the same legacy. I recall my memory to BB and her life long image stands before me. People aren’t persuaded by the facts as much as they are by the emotions, feelings, and images behind those facts and the same is the case with me when I relate myself as a worker with Bilwal Bhutto Zardari. Young Bilwal is possessed with a great vision. He is there to foster a team spirit and to rally people around his dynamic vision. He has successfully shown how to breed optimism, promote resilience, and renew faith and confidence among the workers and Jialayas. Bilwal happens to be more popular and charismatic than his contemporaries. People who are perceived to be charismatic are simply more animated than others. They smile more, speak faster, pronounce words more clearly, and move their heads and bodies more often. The same is true with Bilwal Bhutto Zardari. He really looks like his great mother when he greets people with enthusiasm and taps people’s emotions and connects them with inspiring words and stories.
Shaheed BB was very conscious about the education of her kids. She also used to teach them. Bilawal was admitted to great Aitichison College, Lahore, but due to some reasons he could not continue. Instead he went to Karachi Grammar School during his mother’s second term in office as Prime Minister. He also attended Froebel’s International School in Islamabad. He left Pakistan with his mother in April 1999. He spent his childhood in Dubai and London. He also attended Rashid School For Boys in Dubai, where he was Vice President of the student council. He has a black belt in Taekwondo but regrets he could not play cricket because of his family circumstances. Bilawal matriculated at Christ Church, a constituent college of the University of Oxford, in mid-2007, to study modern history, studying British history before transitioning to general history. Shaheed – cite_note-telegraphprofile-6 Benazir Bhutto also enrolled him in the Oxford Union debating society. He completed his studies in June 2010.
Charismatic and dynamic Bilwal was found fit to lead the party after the assassination of Shaheed Benazir Bhutto. Shaheed Benazir’s political will declared Asif Ali Zardari as Benazir’s successor for party leadership. It was the decision that proved best in the given political scenario. However, Bilawal became Chairman of the Pakistan People’s Party because President Zardari favoured Bilawal to represent Bhutto’s legacy in part to avoid division within the party. This judicious decision proved a miracle for the renaissance of the party from the grass root level to higher tiers as all and sundry stood behind Bilwal with a firm commitment and dedication. President Zardari successfully guided the party and acted as co-chairman of the PPP. Bilawal was appointed chairman of the PPP on 30 December 2007. Asif Zardari also announced Bilawal’s name change from “Bilawal Zardari” to “Bilawal Bhutto Zardari”. At that time he was still studying at Oxford. Bilwal gave the ever popular slogan as democracy is the best revenge and the largest party of the country proved it with popular mandate and victory in the general election of 2008.
In 2011, Bilawal returned to Pakistan and became more prominent in politics, notably when his father went for medical care to Dubai in December 2011.In May 2012, Bilawal Bhutto 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. He started his political career and made his first major public speech on 27 December 2012, the fifth anniversary of his mother’s death and I was an eyewitness when he mobilized the party cadres and injected a new enthusiasm in the party. He was truly leading the great legacy of the Bhuttos and especially his mother and grandfather.
Bilawal has got amazing name and it means “one without equal”. He is true to this meaning and is the manifestation of the word for his party followers. His first language is English, but he is quite fluent in national and regional languages like Urdu, Sarailki, Sindhi and Punjabi. He can easily speak and understand Arabic and Urdu. He is really fond of regional and international languages and will be speaking more with the passage of time. His interest in literature and international relations is also amazing and insightful. He is also fond of French literature.
Bilawal Bhutto Zardari is leading the party and is the genuine face of Pakistan’s future – and one to continue the legacy of his mother and grandfather. The 24-year-old launched his political career on the fifth anniversary of his mother and told tens of thousands of supporters that he would fight extremism and terrorism. His father, the country’s President and dynamic leader Asif Ali Zardari, said it was both a sad and joyous day, before outlining his son’s future role. “I want to tell you, by the grace of God, he (Bilawal) has completed his studies but now this is his training time. He will work with you, he will live among workers, he should learn from here. This will be the first time in Pakistan that a democratic government is going to fulfill its five-year term. The credit must be given to President Zardari for upholding the democratic ideals and norms with his policy of reconciliation. The beacon of democracy continues to shine and it is expected that young leaders like Bilwal are committed to fight militancy and extremism to create a peaceful, prosperous and democratic Pakistan.
Bilawal Bhutto Zardari’s charisma and performance have gone well with Bhutto loyalists, who see in him a reflection of his mother. Despite his young age and inexperience, he came across as confident and articulate as he reiterated his party’s populist slogans in Urdu. The PPP hopes that, with Bilawal Bhutto Zardari at the forefront of the next election campaign, it will be able to capitalize on the emotional appeal supporters feel towards the Bhutto. It is pleasant and heart touching for party workers like me when we hear Bilwal speak live on radio and TV and draw heavily on his family’s dynastic role at the heart of the country’s politics. Bhutto is an emotion, a love,” he was quoted as saying, adding that however many Bhuttos were killed, even more would emerge. Over the next few months and years, Bilwal is expected to play a bigger role in party politics and make a mark. Stressing his family’s political legacy, he rightly said the party’s focus was and would remain on “food, clothes and homes”. BISP is an extension of the same approach of Roti, Kapra aur Makan. Although the PPP government faced considerable challenges from terrorism and a global recession, Pakistan’s economy is standing on its own two feet and is expected to show better and impressive indicators with the prudent and consistent policies.
Source: World Tribune Pakistan

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