Pakistan Peoples Party chief Bilawal Bhutto Zardari returned to Pakistan on Tuesday, after spending over a week in Dubai but he will not lead the party's campaign for the May 11 general election, one of his close aides said.
"Bilawal Bhutto Zardari will be very much a part of the campaign but he will not head the campaign. In fact, the PPP never had tasked him to spearhead the election campaign," Hasham Riaz, Bilawal's chief of staff, told PTI.
The 24-year-old chief of the PPP had left Pakistan for Dubai last month after a tiff with his father President Asif Ali Zardari and his aunt Faryal Talpur over the affairs of the party. Zardari subsequently travelled to Dubai on March 30 amidst reports that the trip was aimed at persuading Bilawal to return to the country. Zardari and his son flew into Karachi early this morning.
Riaz said Bilawal will attend a rally to be held at Garhi Khuda Baksh in Sindh province on April 4 to mark the death anniversary of his grandfather, former President Zulifqar Ali Bhutto. The PPP plans to formally launch its election campaign at this rally organised in the traditional stronghold of the Bhutto family.
Bilawal will also address some public meetings during the election campaign, Riaz said.
Sources within the PPP had earlier told PTI that Bilawal had left for Dubai after developing differences with Zardari and his sister, Faryal Talpur, over the party's handling of key issues, including militant violence, sectarian attacks against Shias and the award of party tickets for the polls.
But Riaz said: "Bilawal's return has quelled rumours that he had any differences with his father or aunt. He goes to Dubai often and his leaving the country should not be seen in any other context". He said Bilawal continued to face serious threats and "we should not forget that".
Bilawal was being projected by the PPP as its star campaigner for the polls and party leaders sought to play down the reports of differences between Bilawal and Zardari.
Bilawal will not be able to contest polls himself till he turns 25 in September.